Momentum behind the cloud computing movement continues to accelerate as businesses move from limited deployments to more comprehensive cloud solutions, according to research published by CompTIA, the nonprofit trade association for the IT industry. More than half (56 percent) of the organizations surveyed for CompTIA's Second Annual Trends in Cloud Computing study said their investment in cloud computing will increase by 10 percent or more over the next 12 months.
The survey of 500 IT and business professionals in the United States involved in IT decision-making took place in June.
"This additional investment will likely be accompanied by greater complexity in the overall cloud strategy, such as moving to a hybrid cloud model or adopting more advanced services beyond software as a service," said Seth Robinson, director of technology analysis at CompTIA. "Organizations may begin exploring options such as infrastructure as a service and platform as a service, which will allow them to experiment with custom application development."
While IT departments continue to be the prime driver behind the transition to the cloud, the CompTIA study suggests there is significant momentum building for individual business groups and units within an organization to seek out cloud solutions. About one in five (21 percent) companies surveyed said they have lines of business that pursue cloud solutions independently of the IT department.
"Most software-as-a-service applications are easily accessible through the Internet, making it relatively easy for business employees to use them without involving the IT staff," Robinson said. "But there are risks in this approach, as lines of business often do not have the same awareness of security and reliability as the IT department. This has the potential to cause issues with business continuity and data leakage."
The survey also indicates that the expanded interest in cloud computing is accompanied by a desire for more education about the technology. Although general understanding of cloud computing has improved dramatically over the past year, many users continue to have questions regarding details of cloud implementation.
The 2010 CompTIA cloud computing study found that 60 percent of end users desired a clearer definition of cloud computing. In 2011, that number increased to 66 percent. Areas where users want more clarity include the types of cloud computing offerings (software as a service, platform as a service and infrastructure as a service) and the types of deployment models (public cloud, private cloud or hybrid).
Organizations that have spent time learning about and experimenting with cloud solutions indicate they have a higher level of comfort with cloud computing. In the new CompTIA study, 72 percent of these organizations feel more positive about cloud computing now than they did one year ago. Another 25 percent report no change in their perception.
"For those who feel more positively about the cloud than they did a year ago, the primary reasons are the technical benefits and the ability to achieve other business objectives," Robinson noted. "This finding is in line with data from other CompTIA surveys, where the primary advantage of cloud computing appears to be increased capability, not cost savings."