Opinion on cloud services in Europe still fiercely divided

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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IanMoyse
15 Aug 2013, 4:37 p.m.

Security in all surveys remains the number one concern over cloud and yet no direct comparison is made to where on network security concerns sits. If you look at concerns outside of using any cloud based systems you will find security still rides high on the list of concerns, hence the continual growth of the security product market. Security is not a cloud isolated concern to be addressed and the questions around cloud security are different to on network. Businesses in general are worried about IT security, take BYOD, single sign on, 2 factor authentication and the like. For many businesses who cannot afford their own secured premises and security experts cloud security in fact is the better bet and choosing the right cloud provider is easier than selecting a multitude of localised security products, maintaining them and configuring them correctly to ensure they are in fact secure.

Security is a valid concern to be addressed and mitigated when choosing cloud, but is not a cloud created or isolated issue.

Ian Moyse
Workbooks

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SteveGroom
19 Aug 2013, 9:33 a.m.

Like many things in IT, cloud or not, this article clearly highlights the fundamental problems that still exist in managing and operating an IT network. Take backup and disaster recovery as an example, many companies view this as not adding to the bottom line and so it becomes a grudge purchase with much gnashing of teeth and wringing of hands before a decision is made. Many that do implement backup and DR do as little as possible to ease their conscience that they have this covered, but this is the same as only insuring the ground floor of your property as that’s where the floods and burglars get in !
So the article talks about the history of the burgeoning backup and DR products market and discusses how the security market is going the same way – and its a very accurate observation - why? Because security also doesn’t add to the bottom line of a company’s business so has become another grudge purchase – therefore everyone is searching for the quick, cheap easy silver bullet . – lets face it - most companies think “as long as I spend money on a good firewall I’ll be protected” Right ? We all really know you can’t take Bill or Betty off of server refreshes and say “this week your going to implement our security policy – here have a firewall to play with”
So with that in mind, lets turn to the initial question “Opinion on cloud is still fiercely divided”. I believe it really doesn’t matter if its cloud or on-premise or a hybrid of the both, or you buy the best product or tooling on the market for the job - all of them need to be managed properly. This is where cloud and Managed Services can win out, where the management of complex bits of the IT can be performed as a service, where both the in house staff that understand the business can collaborate with the MSP to drive the best out of the combined technology deployed and use the right people with the right skills and qualifications to ensure the business is operating efficiently, safely and securely.
It matters not if you want to spin something up cheap and quick on AWS or need a bit of cloud storage from a dropbox type provider, in the end you can’t shortcut the management of the whole IT assets and this is where MSP’s can step in and assist – and if you ignore this, businesses and their use of IT go wrong.
So maybe the real division of opinion is the right way to manage IT today and how much money a business should invest in getting it right?

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