Some called 2015 the “Year of the Cloud,” but cloud adoption is growing and is projected to continue to rise even more in 2016. According to Gartner, the worldwide public cloud services market will reach $204 billion this year, thanks in large part to infrastructure as a service (IaaS) and cloud application services (SaaS). Not all of the differences between cloud in 2015 and cloud in 2016 involve growth, though. In fact, it could be the data that addresses cloud challenges that will provide the most insight. A recent RightScale report did just that, showing another striking disparity between the state of cloud in 2015 versus today: Lack of resources and expertise. These two categories narrowly beat out security as the biggest concern for CIOs (32% versus 29%, respectively)—a first. And there’s much more to learn from the survey.
Key Takeaways from RightScale’s 2016 State of the Cloud Report
The aim of RightScale’s annual report is to provide a comprehensive perspective on the state of the cloud by surveying businesses of various sizes and across multiple industries. The fact that security is no longer viewed as the number one challenge—although it is still high ranking—is even more interesting because the most security-conscious respondents (like enterprise IT teams) agreed. Below are additional takeaways from the RightScale report worth noting:
- 26% of respondents identified compliance, managing multiple cloud services, and managing costs as significant challenges. Concern about managing costs, in particular, has increased steadily since its 18% showing in 2013. This observation is important because cloud cost management can present substantial opportunities for companies—especially SMBs—to overcome this challenge (i.e., shutting down unused workloads for optimization, etc.).
- Most respondents to RightScale’s survey have diversified their cloud usage to get the most leverage out of the available technologies. Users reported running applications in an average of 1.7 private clouds and 1.5 public clouds, highlighting either widespread uncertainty about which platform to pursue or a tendency to embrace hybrid cloud setups. Given that lack of expertise was cited as one of the biggest concerns this year, it is possible enterprise companies are struggling to find a balance when it comes to cloud usage.
- Reported challenges decreased as cloud user experience increased. For the most part, the number and significance of identified challenges lessened with cloud maturity. Those identified as “cloud beginners,” for example, were less likely than the “cloud focused” group to be concerned with security. For the rest of the three categories of respondents, though, the top challenge remained “lack of resources/expertise” regardless of the length of time they have been involved with the cloud. This observation proves a high level of comfort with cloud is still missing for many companies, a shame given the revolutionary potential the technology as a whole presents to both the enterprise and SMBs.
Public Cloud Services and Private Cloud Services: All About Security and Compliance
It’s clear from the RightScale survey that a lack of resources is a huge concern for CIOs across the board. The fact remains, though, that security and compliance have always been—and still are—at the forefront of cloud challenges for most companies, too. After all, a lack of resources and expertise could potentially result in a security breach or a fine for noncompliance, so these issues are all top of mind for IT professionals today.
The question that logically follows is twofold: How do companies approach the public vs. private cloud discussion if they lack expertise and comfort with the platforms, and how do they handle security and compliance regardless of which way they lean? There isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer. In general, though, many businesses take routine, peripheral applications to the public cloud and save their sensitive, proprietary information for a private cloud set-up—a route many industry leaders find agreeable from both security and efficiency standpoints. Additional security measures are regularly taken, of course.
As reported by PWC’s State of Information Security Survey 2016, 69% of companies polled reported having incorporated strategic cloud-based cyber security initiatives, and 59% had cyber security insurance. Budgets are increasing to reflect the security focus of enterprise companies, too—nearly one quarter of respondents to PWC’s survey, in fact, said they’d increased budgets to combat the threat of intellectual property loss.
In sum, the year 2016 has been heralded as the “Year of the Cloud,” and the data backs up that assertion in terms of the number of companies onboarding public and private cloud platforms. Recent reports point to another surge though—a surge in challenges such as a lack of resources, lack of expertise, and security concerns—that businesses must address as they navigate their cloud setup of choice.
Additional Resources on This Topic: