IT innovation has changed the workplace and has given organizations the opportunity to leverage cloud computing tools to enhance efficiency and mobility. The cloud has become a practical and necessary aspect of business operations in enterprises around the world, including firms located in Ireland and the U.K.
A new study by Cisco revealed that cloud computing is now a strategic priority in these regions, as more than 90 percent of survey respondents said the technology is on their agenda, compared to only 52 percent who answered similarly in 2011. Nearly one-third of these companies believe the cloud will play a critical role in their success and will underpin the majority of operations this year, while only 7 percent said the same in 2011.
Moving beyond the hype
Organizations across sectors are leveraging the cloud at an increasingly rapid rate, and retail is leading the charge. According to Cisco, approximately 39 percent of retailers believe the cloud is of vital importance, making them "trailblazers" in the adoption race. In 2011, retailers only put 11 percent of mission-critical IT applications and tools in the cloud but this has jumped to 36 percent in 2012 – the highest of any industry.
"This new report validates a shift that many of us in the IT industry have been witnessing first hand over the last 6-12 months," Cisco U.K. and Ireland CTO Ian Foddering said. "Cloud usage has now gone mainstream. After several years of 'hype' across the IT industry, it now seems that cloud is maturing and organizations across a broad range of sectors are realizing the benefits of moving to a cloud model."
While many companies are migrating services to cloud-based environments, the type of cloud seems to vary between decision-makers.
Differing cloud models offer separate rewards and risks
Cisco reported that roughly 54 percent of businesses are leveraging the private cloud model, up from 34 percent in 2011. Conversely, around 29 percent of decision-makers have chosen to deploy the public cloud, compared to 18 percent in 2011.
More than half of survey respondents also said they think the private cloud will dominate the business landscape in the next five years, the report said.
The reasons for choosing different models vary, as each type – private, public and hybrid – has its own benefits and risks. For example, cost efficiency is still the No. 1 priority when leveraging the cloud, pushing many to deploy public environments that offer innovative solutions for a low price. The perceived risk associated with the public cloud is that it offers less protection over sensitive solutions.
Other decision-makers believe the data security benefits associated with the private cloud are more important than saving money, as the private cloud is often more expensive.
While data protection used to be a major inhibitor to the technology, the lingering concerns associated with varying clouds and their protective qualities may be misguided. IT departments are beginning to recognize that safeguarding mission-critical information and applications will require work regardless of environment, according to a separate Network Computing report.
Companies need to understand that there will always be a risk when leveraging new technologies, and cloud computing is no different. Decision-makers must implement intensive best practices and install their own security solutions to ensure sensitive information isn't exposed.
"The cloud provider should use a number of technologies and processes to implement both electronic and physical security but there's a bright line between where its responsibility ends and yours begins," Network Computing said.
As cloud computing adoption continues to rise within the private sector, decision-makers need to ensure they complete risk management assessments and deploy proper protective tools.
Cloud Computing News from SimplySecurity.com by Trend Micro