As the enterprise IT community debates the need for and merits of cloud computing, fears over data protection continue to inhibit widespread adoption of the technology.
In recent years, the cloud has become a popular – if often misunderstood – buzzword among technology pundits. The new platform generated a swell of early hype and soon industry titans such as Google, Microsoft and Amazon were investigating the potential of the emerging cloud services market. Corporate managers were drawn by the cost efficiency of the technology, and employees quickly embraced the potential for enhanced mobility, according to BusinessWeek.
With that said, one might have expected cloud computing to ride this early momentum toward mainstream adoption. However, continued skepticism over data security has prevented a number of companies from implementing changes in their IT operations.
The recently released CloudWatch 2011 report from Cisco contained several surprising revelations about cloud computing attitudes in the U.K. Of the 250 IT leaders surveyed, just one in four agreed that the cloud offered better security than current resources. As a result, less than 10 percent of all U.K. IT services or applications are hosted in the cloud.
"There is a perception that cloud is inherently insecure, but it should not be the case," Cisco technical director Ian Foddering told Computerworld UK. "There are many mechanisms out there to make the cloud secure."
This discrepancy may be related to a lack of standards governing the deployment and operation of cloud environments.
"Some vertical sectors are very concerned about the lack of standards," Foddering told CloudPro UK. "Some, like healthcare, see it as a barrier to entry, some service providers don't see it as a factor at all."
Unfortunately for cloud providers, it appears perception has become reality in many enterprise IT departments. Vendors may need to shift their focus toward end-user education or the development of industry standards before they are able to inspire more widespread adoption.