Do the IT professionals who oversee your company's computing feel comfortable using the cloud for company data and important computing tasks? Most likely they don't, at least not completely. Nevertheless, they believe the vast majority of your company's functions will be in the cloud in a little over a year.
These are just some of the fascinating results to emerge from a new survey by Intel Security of more than 1,200 IT leaders at companies in the United States and Canada, several European nations, Australia, and Brazil. They represent companies with as few as 251 and as many as 5,000 employees. And their responses paint the picture of technology professionals who don't entirely trust the cloud -- but realize it's the way of the future.
Here are a few of the survey's findings:
1. Only 13 percent of IT professionals completely trust the public cloud.
That's a low number, but it's not quite as bad as it sounds. For one thing, people who spend all their time working with technology know how generally unreliable it can be. More than half of the survey respondents say they don't entirely trust their own in-house non-cloud systems either. And while they may distrust the cloud today, things are improving--77 percent of respondents say their organizations trust the cloud more than they did a year ago.
2. Most think their bosses don't understands the cloud's security risks.
Asked if the CEOs and other leaders of their companies fully understand the security risks of the cloud, 66 percent of the IT professionals surveyed answered no. And yet, the survey shows, these top executives, including the CEO and CFO, are often the ones making decisions about whether to use the cloud.
3. They may be worrying about the wrong thing.
What are the biggest problems with moving to the cloud? Data security is respondents' number-one concern. Perhaps that's not surprising, given the high-profile, cloud-based data breaches so many large companies have experienced.
But the survey also asked what cloud-related problems respondents' companies had actually experienced and the responses point to a different set of problems. One in five respondents said they'd had an unauthorized person gain access to data hosted in the cloud, and 23 percent said they'd had data security issues in general. But those were not the biggest cloud-related problems--27 percent of respondents reported having difficulty migrating services or data to the cloud, and 25 percent find cloud vendors' fees are too high.
4. Like it or not, it's where we're all headed.
IT professionals may not trust the cloud, but they know what everyone else knows--that the low cost, availability, flexibility, and scalability of the cloud amount to a deal most companies can't turn down. Perhaps in recognition of this truth, the survey did not ask respondents if they were moving to the cloud, but rather when. How long would it take before 80 percent of the company's IT budget was devoted to cloud services?
The average answer is 16 months, with some countries moving cloudward even faster. Australian respondents expect 80 percent cloud investment in 11 months, and Brazilian respondents expect to be there in a year. Respondents in the U.S. and Canada expect 80 percent cloud investment within 14 months.
How will it change things if most companies really do have 80 percent of their technology investment devoted to the cloud less than a year and a half from now? We'll have to wait and see.