Aggressive cloud adopters get competitive advantage, roars latest research

The latest cloudy research paper this time arrives courtesy of US telco Verizon, and shows that companies who have shown faith with the cloud early are getting a competitive advantage through increased business agility.

The research, of Harvard Business Review readers, categorised users into four different groups; enthusiasts, moderates, cautious and non-existant on cloud adoption, and showed a higher predilection for enthusiasts (35%) than any other group. 34% of respondents were moderates, while cautious (22%) and none (9%) trailed behind.

This is particularly interesting for one reason. Similar research from Quocirca and CA Technologies this time last year had three categories, of enthusiasts (22%), avoiders (23%), and blockers (3%). A middling category, where 35% of respondents sat, was for those who evaluated its usage before deciding – similar to the ‘moderates’ category in the recent Verizon study.

Around two thirds of respondents admitted they had gained at least some competitive advantage through adopting cloud. 30% their advantage had been “significant”, compared to “some” (33%), “a little” (11%), and “none” (8%).

It’s the usual plethora of statistics concerning cloud adoption, although this stat came as a surprise to CloudTech HQ. The most popular cloud deployment is private (41%) according to respondents, followed by hybrid (35%) and public (13%). This goes at odds with greater public cloud deployment, although a recent article from David Linthicum gives credence to the future of the private cloud as a point of control, or interfaces, into public clouds.

The Verizon report notes, correctly, the correlation between companies cautious about the cloud and private cloud uptake. Yet this also correlates with business value derived from cloud, according to the respondents. The biggest win was simplification of HR and CRM (37%), followed by better delivery of internal resources (33%), and greater ways for employee collaboration (31%).

“This research shows that cloud is not just taking a seat at the table; it’s already delivering significant benefit and becoming the norm,” wrote Siki Giunta, Verizon SVP cloud, data centre and connected solutions in a preamble generously titled the ‘sponsor’s perspective.’

She added: “In those early days of cloud computing, the same concerns came up time and again: security, compliance, and loss of control. But years of hard work by governments, standards bodies, vendors, and enterprises themselves have improved transparency, data portability, integration, manageability, and performance.”

Verizon, lest we forget, announced its own cloud platform in October, with various companies – Oracle for middleware, CloudBees to name two – signing up to partner. Despite its various problems with the FCC elsewhere, Verizon hopes that its long standing security and enterprise expertise enables customers to “cloud with confidence”, in the words of the official site.

Find the full report here.

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8 Aug 2014, 4:49 p.m.

I think that it is encouraging that “companies who have shown faith with the cloud early are getting a competitive advantage through increased business agility”and I think that it is critical how you secure sensitive information in the cloud.

A recent report “Data Breach: The Cloud Multiplier Effect” by the Ponemon Institute reveals that 66 percent of respondents say their organization’s use of cloud resources diminishes its ability to protect confidential or sensitive information and 64 percent believe it makes it difficult to secure business-critical applications.

Ponemon asked “Can a data breach in the cloud result in a larger and more costly incident?” and found that an average data breach cost of $2.37 million it could be as much as $5.32 million if the data is in the cloud. A data breach in the cloud can be 2x more costly.

The good news is that new cost effective data protection solutions can address this issue.

Gartner concluded that the “Emerging Technology” defined as “Cloud Data Protection Gateways” provides a “High Benefit Rating” and “offer a way to secure sensitive enterprise data and files stored in SaaS applications”.

I also read an interesting report from the Aberdeen Group about protecting financial and personal data. The report revealed that “data tokenization users had 50% fewer security-related incidents (e.g., unauthorized access, data loss or data exposure than tokenization non-users)”.

I think that Cloud Gateways that tokenize sensitive data looks like a promising approach for cloud security.

Ulf Mattsson, CTO Protegrity