In August I wrote an article called It’s time to trust the cloud in which I encouraged IT departments to be proactive, to embrace and promote the cloud as a potential alternative and take a balanced view to value and risk. It prompted quite a bit of feedback on Twitter both for and against the main point that it was time for IT departments to trust the cloud and to stop using security as a reason for not wanting to even consider cloud-based services.
That article was prompted by comments made by Richard Sykes, chair of the Cloud Industry Forum, at a G-Cloud in Practice conference. Sykes explained that, as suppliers of public cloud services are experts in security, then they are likely to be more secure than other offerings. And Chris Taylor, COO and CIO of News UK, a company that is making extensive use of cloud services seemed to support this when he said in June that providers such as Amazon, Google and Salesforce are “far more secure than any one IT department.”
So I’m not surprised to see the results of a recent survey of 300 IT decision makers from business of all sizes, by Claranet, which shows that 69% believe cloud computing is as secure, or more secure than, on-premise solutions. That’s a significant increase on the previous year’s survey in which 54% of respondents thought cloud was at least as secure as in-house hosting.
On the subject of risk, only 31% said that cloud computing posed a greater risk than in-house solutions, a big drop from the previous year in which 46% believed cloud was a greater risk. This change in attitude towards the cloud is reflected in overall adoption rates with 73% of organisations saying they were now using cloud services compared to 62% in 2012. So it is clear that the tide is well and truly turning, an increasing number of businesses are willing to trust the cloud.
The changing attitudes reflect the maturing of cloud offerings and also demonstrate that cloud vendors have improved their messaging on issues such as security and risk and are overcoming the concerns of many CIOs as a result. I would also suggest that the growing levels of satisfaction with cloud is due in part to better due-diligence by IT departments before their organisation commits to a particular service. Reviewing terms and conditions, security and privacy arrangements, service levels, business continuity, and the potential for vendor lock-in are all key activities in ensuring that cloud is both the right solution and, if it is, that the right provider and service are selected.
This should be taken as a learning point for any non-IT functions that are thinking of buying cloud services directly from a vendor and without the involvement of their IT department. If you engage your IT function in the selection and procurement process you are likely to have a more secure, reliable and cost-effective experience. And it should also serve as a reminder for CIOs that IT has a valuable and important role to play when their organisation moves services to the cloud. It’s not about loss of control or being sidelined, it’s about a change in role for the IT function from service provider to service broker.
And for any CIOs that are still to be convinced, the survey also revealed that 82% of companies have improved uptime and reliability as a result of moving to the cloud while 75% have successfully reduced pressure on their IT departments. Better security, lower risk, higher availability and reduced workload for IT; what’s not to like? It really is time for IT to trust the cloud.