Cloud continues to give companies competitive advantage, report shows


More organisations are saying cloud computing gives them a competitive advantage, but fewer are saying it gives their company a significant advantage, according to the latest figures from Verizon.

The report, the third annual ‘State of the Market: Enterprise Cloud’ paper released by the telco giant, found 77% of firms cite cloud as a competitive advantage, compared with 74% this time last year. Yet only 16% argue cloud gives significant advantage this time round, down from 30% in 2014.

37% of organisations say cloud has enabled their firm to adapt its business model, with a further 19% saying they were working towards it, and 25% saying they were considering it. By 2018, Verizon argues half of companies will be putting at least three quarters of their workloads in the cloud.

Verizon argues there are three types of persona which any company can identify with:

  • The sceptics: These companies, Verizon notes, aren’t luddites in terms of what cloud can do for their business – they almost certainly will use SaaS apps – but are restricted on what they can do. The financial services industry is a good example. Only 6% of survey respondents expect less than 25% of their workloads in the cloud by 2018.
  • The pragmatists: These are companies which are taking a measured approach to cloud, steadily creating an enterprise-class infrastructure using standard components from cloud providers tied together using APIs and orchestration services.
  • The natives: These are the cloud-first, or cloud-only, businesses, using cloud-based ERP and CRM software and utilising the subscription economy, rather than buying servers.

Elsewhere, more than a quarter (27%) of businesses are already using private cloud, while a further 17% plan to implement it. Organisations are also becoming less cloud-phobic; 87% of those polled say they think cloud is at least as reliable as on-premises infrastructure, while four in five say it is as least as secure. 93% of companies say they are using two or more cloud providers, while a quarter are using an eye-watering 10.

“Last year, the news was that cloud was being used for mission-critical workloads; now enterprises are using it to transform how they achieve that mission,” commented Ryan Shuttleworth, cloud chief technology officer for Verizon Enterprise Solutions. “Companies are using cloud technologies to create new customer experiences, reengineer their business processes, find new opportunities to grow, and manage risk and compliance measures,” he added.

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13 Nov 2015, 3:25 p.m.

I agree that "Companies are using cloud technologies to create new customer experiences, reengineer their business processes, find new opportunities to grow, and manage risk and compliance measures." But I think that "risk and compliance" aspects must be evaluated in relation to your current security posture and the security controls that will be used in cloud.

A new study by the SANS Institute, covered "private things" and reported that "fewer than a third of organizations have a strategy in place to tailor security requirements to the mix of environments they use."

The study reported that "75 percent of organizations utilize identity and access management tools on premises, only 31 percent use it in the cloud," and "63 percent of organizations use a SIEM to track security events across traditional data center assets, just 25 percent do the same with cloud assets."

The Ponemon study "The State of Data Security Intelligence," reported that "Data that is outsourced to cloud is the biggest worry." Another Ponemon study reported that "Less than four in 10 leverage security tools to protect enterprise applications and data in the cloud."

Gartner released the report "Simplify Operations and Compliance in the Cloud by Protecting Sensitive Data" in June 2015 that highlighted key challenges as "cloud increases the risks of noncompliance through unapproved access and data breach." A recent Gartner report concluded that "Cloud Data Protection Gateways" provides a "High Benefit Rating" and "offer a way to secure sensitive enterprise data and files stores of data and use cases.

Asses your security posture on prem and compare to the security controls that are available in cloud, and mind the potential gap.

Ulf Mattsson, CTO Protegrity