OK, if the cloud is so cool, why aren't you using it?

Question Mark Decision Making

Numbers thrown up from industry surveys continue to suggest, as in the case of the one conducted by hosted services provider Rise recently, that organisations are more than willing to embrace the cloud.

Apparently some two thirds said that they were looking to migrate to the cloud within a two year timeframe.

Or how about when VMWare conducted some recent cloud research across seven EMEA countries including the UK and concluded that 31 percent of budgets are already allocated to cloud computing, 84 percent of enterprises consider it a priority and 56 percent reckoned it was a critical consideration for adoption within the next 18 months.

If this acceptance of the cloud and determination to adopt is so strong, how come more companies haven't actually taken the plunge and migrated then? Well, in the case of the Rise survey some 50 percent thought that (the old chestnut) security along with technical complexity and a lack of understanding of what the cloud is and how it works were the main barriers to migration. But can it really be as simple as that?

Certainly when you look at adoption rates in Europe as a whole, as our sister publication IT Pro has just done, there is little doubting we are being left behind in the cloud adoption stakes by the US and even a myriad of other emerging markets.

Digitisation of data is greater in the US, say a panel of senior EMC executives, and the ongoing uncertainty as far as the Euro is concerned doesn't help.

But to claim, as seems to be the case reading that IT Pro report, that "technology is still a US-based sector" doesn't make any sense to me. It has been a long time, and some would argue it was never actually the case at all, that the US leads the world in technological innovation.

Even if you give that theory total credence, technological innovation is one thing and user take-up quite another. Facebook and Google, to name but a couple of well-known examples. may have started life in the US but they would not be where they are today without truly global consumption.

So what's stopping us from biting at the cloud cherry right now? Could it be a lack of clarity as far as ethics, practices and processes are concerned?

That's something the Cloud Industry Forum will be pressing for at the Cloud Computing World Forum this year. It's an angle that is backed up by the 'overall complexity' reasoning from the Rise survey, and one that I don't want to dispute but feel I must.

Andy Burton, chair of CIF, points out that "end users are looking for guidance and advice on how to procure these services based on the clear, consistent and relevant provision of key information about the organisation, its capabilities and its operational commitments." Yet surely that's exactly what the CIF code of practice was meant to address? Given that this was launched, what, a year or so ago now I am hard-pressed to see how the informed-choice argument can really be the driver behind cloud adoption-phobia.

No, what I think is holding people back is a lack of understanding at the most basic level: defining the cloud itself. By which I mean, explaining what the cloud is, what it can do and how it can be done, for each individual business.

Perhaps we need to stop thinking in terms of X-as-a-Service models, leave behind the whole public/private deployment debate, and as cloud evangelists admit that 'the cloud' will be something entirely different for each and every organisation migrating to it.

I, almost jokingly, advised against saying the c-word when dealing with cloud sceptics in my last piece for Cloud Pro. Perhaps that advice needs to be extended to the 85 percent of enterprises which actually consider it a priority as well. Maybe then, and only then, can we start playing catch-up with the US.

Davey Winder

Davey is a three-decade veteran technology journalist specialising in cybersecurity and privacy matters and has been a Contributing Editor at PC Pro magazine since the first issue was published in 1994. He's also a Senior Contributor at Forbes, and co-founder of the Forbes Straight Talking Cyber video project that won the ‘Most Educational Content’ category at the 2021 European Cybersecurity Blogger Awards.

Davey has also picked up many other awards over the years, including the Security Serious ‘Cyber Writer of the Year’ title in 2020. As well as being the only three-time winner of the BT Security Journalist of the Year award (2006, 2008, 2010) Davey was also named BT Technology Journalist of the Year in 1996 for a forward-looking feature in PC Pro Magazine called ‘Threats to the Internet.’ In 2011 he was honoured with the Enigma Award for a lifetime contribution to IT security journalism which, thankfully, didn’t end his ongoing contributions - or his life for that matter.

You can follow Davey on Twitter @happygeek, or email him at davey@happygeek.com.