Opinion on cloud services in Europe still fiercely divided

James has more than a decade of experience as a tech journalist, writer and editor, and served as Editor in Chief of TechForge Media between 2017 and 2021. James was named as one of the top 20 UK technology influencers by Tyto, and has also been cited by Onalytica, Feedspot and Zsah as an influential cloud computing writer.

Research from Quocirca in conjunction with CA Technologies has revealed that opinion on cloud services in Europe is still fiercely divided.

The Quocirca report divides respondents into three potential categories; ‘enthusiasts’, ‘avoiders’ and ‘blockers’, and found that overall 57% of those polled were ‘cloud positive’.

In Europe, 22% were considered enthusiasts, for whom “cloud is the future for much of [their] IT requirement”, whilst a further 35% said they evaluate options to supplement in-house IT resources.

23%, interestingly, avoid cloud based services whilst a further 3% say they block their use altogether.

The UK figures reveal more overall who were cloud-positive – 60.3% compared to 57% – although only 17.5% were enthusiasts.

It was interesting to note the differences between job sector. Europe-wide results show that the telco sector is the most comfortable with cloud services – nearly 80% were positive. Compare and contrast with the government sector, where 30% polled were cloud avoiders.

The figures therefore show that even though cloud numbers are going up, there’s still a big number who are reluctant to invest.

The report gives reasons as to why they might be so reticent. Fears about storing personal data, current data protection legislation and worries about losing intellectual property were the three main stumbling blocks, according to the survey.

Yet here’s the rub: data security was the biggest worry for both cloud enthusiasts and cloud avoiders. If both groups are worried about the same thing, yet one is fully immersed in cloud technologies, is it simply a case of the avoiders overcoming their inhibitions?

The report agrees with this, and examines the security measures cloud enthusiasts are currently undertaking, coming to the conclusion that “it would seem, just about everything”.

Analysing six different security methods – audit trails, filtering of incoming content, data loss prevention, comprehensive identity access management (IAM) for all users, link identity and single sign on (SSO) – the researchers found that for cloud enthusiasts, all six averaged approximately 4.0 (out of 5) in terms of importance. For avoiders, ensuring an audit trail was the most important (3.5).

There is an inextricable link between cloud enthusiasts advocating SSO, IAM and identity and budget – unsurprisingly, cloud enthusiasts spend more of their budget on security.

Yet, as the report notes: “Many cloud services have a lower cost than deploying the same technology on-premise, so will reduce the overall cost of IT delivery.

“This means security will rise as a proportion of overall IT spending, even if security spending itself was not increased.”

So it’s all about convincing the cloud-cautious to adopt. “The cloud genie is out of the bottle and there will be no putting it back, because the benefits nearly always outweigh the problems that need to be overcome when using such services for the delivery of mainstream IT requirements,” the report concludes.

“With some help and encouragement, today’s avoiders of cloud could become tomorrow’s enthusiasts.”

What’s your view? Were you originally reluctant to move to the cloud – and how did things change?

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