Study shows differences between cloud users and non-users

A cornerstone study into cloud computing in the UK has revealed the key difference in opinion between cloud users and non-cloud users.

The study, from Raconteur Media and written by Mike O’Driscoll entitled ‘Navigating the Cloud’, had a relatively small survey base – just under 250 completed at least part of the survey – but of that number, there was a lot of clout – 84% saw themselves as the key IT decision maker.

Again, software as a service (SaaS) proved itself to be the most mature cloud market. 81% of respondents currently use SaaS, compared to 45% for infrastructure as a service (IaaS) and 38% for platform as a service (PaaS). Crucially, only 5% of respondents had no plans to use SaaS in their company.

This correlates with research from Symform which showed that SaaS “continued to be the entryway” for cloud platforms.

The survey showed less of a grasp for PaaS, however, where 48% of Symform respondents stated they weren’t going to use PaaS in the next 12 months. Recent Gartner research predicted that PaaS would hit $1.2bn as a global market by the end of this year, and Ovum called PaaS “the next kid on the cloud block” in its latest research note.  

One of the intriguing takeaways related to concerns when selecting a cloud provider. For non-users, the biggest concern related to interoperability and portability; yet for users, the biggest concern remains security.

Vendor lock-in, traditionally perceived to be a struggle for cloud, was considered the smallest concern for non-cloud users. Could this perhaps be down to a lack of knowledge? It was only the fourth biggest concern for cloud users, behind security, compliance and cost.

Security was the number two risk for non-users; yet for cloud users interoperability was the least important factor, which certainly suggests a certain discrepancy between users and non-users.

Yet there were definite similarities between non-users and users when asked about priorities when selecting a cloud provider.

Respondents had to rank each element out of five, and the report collated the mean scores.

In both cases security was the number one thought, but it was more important to non users (5.00) than users (4.77).

The next most important facets were exactly the same for both cloud users and non-users; privacy (4.71 users, 4.82 non-users); support from supplier (4.26 users, 4.52 non-users) and scalability (4.32 users, 4.52 non-users). Intriguingly, the responses were similar yet the numbers from cloud-users were lower.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, credit card information was least likely to be hosted on the cloud. 48% of non-users polled said they would be happy to host the data on a private cloud, and 48% said they weren’t prepared to put the data on any cloud. Alternately, 64% of cloud users didn’t want to host cloud data on any cloud.

The full research can be found here. Does this correlate with current cloud trends?

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12 Mar 2013, 1:08 p.m.

No surprise that Security remains the top question from would be cloud adopters and this is not a bad thing. You should do your diligence as not al cloud providers are born equal. Customers need education on the questions to ask and how to interpret the answers provided. For example asking where your data centre is can provoke a factual answer, but asking where my data will be (one what centre) and where my secondary data centre for my data will be may get you a different answer and consideration altogether! Also ask what sovereignty will my data be held under? For example with many brand name cloud providers you will quickly find as a UK firm for example that all your data will be held in the USA under USA jurisdiction, but this is not made clear or openly up front unless you ask. Also ask about data liberation (how easy can you get your data back, any charges?, what format, etc).

Cloud is a valid and viable option for most IT projects, as long as you do the relevant diligence as part of your on-boarding.

Ian Moyse