Perceived risks over service control and fears over data sovereignty are the key issues that are restricting UK organisations from implementing cloud services, according to recent research from Claranet.
The research polled 300 senior IT decision-makers across a variety of sectors and business sizes and discovered the range of concerns that has led to 32 per cent of respondents delaying procuring cloud services for an average of 12 months.
The three main barriers to cloud adoption have been identified as: fears about losing in-house control (46 per cent), confusion as to how cloud could benefit their organisation (43 per cent), and an organisational culture that is not prepared for a new approach to information technology (41 per cent).
Michel Robert, managing director at Claranet UK commented:
The given responses as to what is holding back organisations from using cloud can be seen as issues in a range of areas. A lack of understanding amongst the IT decision-makers that we surveyed about the nature of cloud and their ability to control it stands out as the main issue. This puts the onus on service providers such as Claranet to be clear about what cloud services are and how they work.
Other issues that were cited as barriers to adoption include reliability and complexity of procurement. Of the responses received 35 per cent consider cloud computing as unreliable and 32 per cent expressed concerns over the buying process of cloud services from providers.
However, the issue of data security ranks significantly higher than any other risk factor considered with 85 per cent believing that it is the most important factor to mitigate against risk.
Data security is a natural concern when moving away from the traditional in-house infrastructure. The findings show us that 54 per cent felt that cloud was a higher risk approach than more traditional IT services, again reinforcing the fact that service providers are not doing enough to allay the fears of IT decision-makers. There appears to be a greater focus on the perceived risks than the actual benefits of cloud services, and as a result organisations are not realising the full benefits possible through cloud adoption.
The survey also highlighted that the role of the vendor plays a big part in the view of customers in mitigating risk. 34 per cent of organisations stated that they want assurances that they can enforce contractual liability in the event of service level agreements (SLA) being broken and 28 per cent fear vendor lock-in from cloud services.
These issues show the importance of cloud providers offering easily understood services and the SLAs that support them. Cloud vendors need to do more to educate their customers about how cloud will benefit them and ensure that the SLA guarantees the service that end-users demand. Features such as hypervisor agnosticism will supply the flexibility end-users are looking for and allows them to sidestep any issues of vendor lock-in.
These findings have directly influenced our cloud service offering. Our recently announced Claranet Virtual Data Centre (VDC) service was developed with the core issues of data security and location, network integration, ease of migration and enterprise level SLAs at its heart.