The past 5 years have witnessed enormous growth of Public Cloud services within the enterprise market. However, if there is one thing plateauing this growth, it's a lack of trust. A study carried out by Intel Security shows that only 13% of global participants fully trust Cloud providers to secure sensitive data; suggesting people are still a long way off completely migrating to this contemporary and somewhat less visible means of hosting data.
Further research implies the UK may be the most sceptical of all, lagging far behind its overseas counterparts. The UK has been ranked the slowest in Cloud adoption, with companies using an average of 29 Cloud services, as opposed to 43 services for global organisations. In addition, only 15% of technical decision-makers in the UK state that senior management actually understand the risks of storing data in the Cloud, compared to 24% globally.
The Public Cloud Conflict
It appears many IT professional's fear lack of control with the Cloud. This perception of lessened control leads them to believe they are open to security breaches. In contrast, as many cloud service providers suggest, placing data in the public cloud can indeed, make it more secure.
The reality is that Cloud providers cannot afford to put their clients’ data at risk. They obtain security certifications to validate the demanding security measures they implement to protect this data from external attacks. Examples of such certifications are ISO 27001, PCI compliance etc. The status of these should be checked before making your Cloud choices.
Other voiced concerns are around the transparency of Cloud. The lack of visible controls raises issues within companies who are legally bound to ensure data policies are in place for their customers. These concerns are magnified in industries, such as retail, health and fin-tech, who deal with highly sensitive data and numerous attacks.
To aid companies with their mindful transition to the Public Cloud, providers need to offer complete transparency of process and technology - from storage encryption to accessibility of log data. You should ask any provider you are considering for some evidence.
However, the Public Cloud isn’t for everyone. For companies that handle large amounts of data, in a consistent and ongoing basis, it may work out cheaper to look into Private Cloud Solutions, or even an in-house Data Centre. Nevertheless, for companies with smaller amounts of data or organisations whose storage is susceptible to fluctuations or unexpected peaks, utilising the Public Cloud may be the best fit. The most important point is maintaining the control of choice as to where the data is stored should the organisation's situation change.
The Future of Public Cloud
A study carried out by EMC, VCE and VMware researched global Cloud adoption, across different industries. Results showed that 89% of businesses are using Cloud in some capacity to deliver a combination of competitiveness, cost effectiveness and flexibility. Furthermore, it highlighted that over a third of businesses use the Public Cloud to host their external digital apps, and over 30% use it for data back-up and recovery.
This research advocates the ever-increasing adoption and acceptance of Cloud services, but what does the future hold for companies moving towards the Public Cloud?
First off, companies need ensure they undertake their due-diligence. Trust and transparency between Cloud provider and client has quickly overtaken geographical convenience in the storage provider check-list; meaning the focus has moved from location of the data, to the protection of data itself.
The Public Cloud is undoubtedly gaining trust, however, it looks unlikely that a point will be reached where businesses store all of their data and applications in it. The future of Cloud Computing will be heavily defined by Software as a Service (SaaS)-based services across Private and Public Clouds.
It's predicted that IT companies will spend over a quarter of all their application budget on SaaS, which will allow companies great flexibility to change their minds on how to deploy their applications. Businesses will be able to shift applications seamlessly across different classes of environments, without disruption of operations or great cost implications.
Trust takes time to grow, but growing it is. Ask yourself if the Cloud is the best fit for your requirements, satisfy yourself with answers to the questions outlined and be ready to take advantage of all its benefits.