Is Cloud Moving To More Business-Critical Areas?
Earlier, enterprise adopters used the cloud for non-critical workloads, such as development and test environments, temporary workspaces and satisfy seasonal workload spikes. Many organizations are now progressing beyond these workloads, putting cloud computing to work in support of business-critical applications and workloads. And they are using cloud for business-critical functions, even though a lot of challenges still need to be addressed.
Gigaom Research surveyed over 300 IT decision makers from companies with at least 1,000 employees, to understand enterprises’ shifting attitudes to the cloud as a viable piece of their business-critical infrastructure.
The report states that security remained the principal consideration. Sixty-five percent agreed that the security of network connections to their cloud-based applications was a cause for concern. A variety of methods get employed to mitigate this risk, from requiring employees to connect from company devices or over virtual private networks (VPNs) to deploying private networks between data centers that bypass the public internet altogether.
Respondents do not to favor a single approach, and use a range of technical and organizational procedures in an effort to balance cost and complexity with organizational requirements for security or regulatory compliance, says the report.
Sixty-six percent of respondents consider one or more Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) applications to be business-critical today, and a significant number also support critical workloads with public Database-as-a-Service (DBaaS) or Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) compute and storage offerings.
Future growth expectations in these areas is low over the next two years, and survey respondents identify a number of pressing technical and legal hurdles standing in the way of further adoption in support of critical workloads. These include concerns around data security, regulatory issues, the quality of network connectivity, and the cost of moving off existing hardware investments.
These barriers are not expected to diminish in the near term, and there is some concern that they remain significant for five years or more, according to the report.
According to Paul Miller, IT analyst and author of the report, “Enterprise decision makers such as those featured in this survey clearly recognize the value that cloud offers to their business, and they are moving beyond pilots and proofs of concept to explicitly and strategically embrace cloud as part of their enterprise IT portfolio.”
He believes that although willing to deploy business-critical workloads in public cloud infrastructure, respondents remain very concerned about network and data security.
Further, regulatory issues present an ongoing challenge, both in terms of compliance and in ensuring that they fully understand implications and consequences. There is some evidence that respondents remain conservative and cautious about moving too much core infrastructure beyond their direct control, almost regardless of their recognition that such a move might deliver value.
Miller writes, for everyone doing business in this space, the apparently overriding concern about data security presents both a challenge and an opportunity. There is real work to be done in demonstrating that existing technologies, existing legislative frameworks, and existing products deliver real and viable solutions to a set of problems that are widely perceived but only poorly understood.
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