Cloud Computing Adoption Surpasses 50%, But Concerns Loom

Roughly 51 percent of organizations are now using some form of cloud computing, according to a recent study by cloud email management player Mimecast.

But for the 49 percent of companies that are not yet leveraging the cloud, concerns around cost and security continue to loom.

Mimecast brought on independent research firm Loudhouse to query more than 500 IT decision makers in US and UK businesses to determine their cloud adoption plans and their satisfaction with cloud services.

Fifty-one percent of respondents said they are utilizing the cloud and cloud-based services. Of them, US businesses outweigh those in the UK. The 51 percent cloud adoption rate represents a significant leap compared to Mimecast's 2009 survey, which found that just 36 percent of US-based businesses used cloud computing services.

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And while 51 percent of organizations polled are using the cloud, two thirds of businesses are considering cloud adoption. The Mimecast survey revealed that 66 percent of respondents are considering adopting cloud-based applications in the future. Again, the US is ahead of the UK, with 70 percent considering cloud services compared to the UK's 60 percent.

"It is great to see that cloud computing has now been embraced by the majority of organizations," Mimecast CEO Peter Bauer said. "The fact that more than 50 percent of businesses are now using cloud-based applications – with two thirds currently considering adopting them – is hugely encouraging for the industry and a clear indication that IT is increasingly willing to innovate in order to get better value for money, increased reliability and greater control of their data."

Among the most popular cloud computing services, are cloud-based email, 62 percent, and security and storage, 52 percent. Email is most popular with mid-sized companies, with 70 percent of organizations that size using cloud-based email services. Cloud storage dominates in SMBs and cloud storage services are most prevalent in large enterprises.

According to the survey, among the companies using cloud services, 74 percent said the cloud has alleviated internal resource pressures; 72 percent report an improved end-user experience; 73 percent have reduced their infrastructure costs; 58 percent indicated that the cloud has given them better control over their data; and 57 percent said that moving data to the cloud has lead to increased security.

But despite the success and increased adoption of the cloud, the Mimecast survey found that 74 percent of IT departments still believe that there is a trade-off between cost and IT security and 62 percent say that storing data on servers outside of the business is always risky. IT departments are also wary of the cost savings promised by cloud computing, with 58 percent of respondents indicating that replacing legacy solutions will cost more than the benefits of new cloud architectures.

Chief among concerns, and one catalyst for the negative perception of cloud services among non-users, is the lack of clear communication from the industry itself, Mimecast found. The survey revealed 54 percent of respondents said the potential benefits of leveraging a cloud delivery model are overstated by the industry.

"The research shows that there is a clear divide within the IT industry on the issue of cloud computing,’ Bauer added. "While those organizations that have embraced cloud services are clearly reaping the rewards, there are still a number who are put off by the 'cloud myths' around data security and the cost of replacing legacy IT. It is now up to cloud vendors to educate businesses and end users to ensure that these concerns do not overshadow the huge potential cost, security and performance benefits that cloud computing can bring."