More than 90 percent of companies are using some form of cloud computing, a strong indication that the cloud has quickly become an essential ingredient of modern IT, according to a study released by IT industry association CompTIA.
However, the organization’s Fifth Annual Trends in Cloud Computing study also found as users move beyond experiments and trials into more advanced applications, they’re also facing more challenges.
In fact, companies that have progressed through several of the adoption stages as defined by CompTIA find that the transitions become more difficult as they move forward.
"As companies make their first migration to the cloud, stumbling blocks are mostly technical," Seth Robinson, senior director of technology analysis for CompTIA, told eWEEK. "Learning about the new model, transferring systems and data, and integration between cloud systems and legacy systems are all challenges that companies face in the early stages of adoption."
Robinson said that as companies mature in their cloud usage, some technical challenges still remain – such as integration – but the challenges become more cultural and behavioral.
"Once cloud systems are used across a wide range of business processes, modifying workflow and building policy become stumbling blocks," he said. "Businesses report that these challenges are more difficult than those in the earlier stages."
Still, users continue to report a wide range of benefits from cloud computing, led by the ability to cut costs.
Among companies that have progressed from the first experimental stage to a non-critical use stage, 28 percent rated the transition as requiring significant effort.
"Many businesses entered cloud computing looking for lower-cost alternatives for their infrastructure," Robinson said. "As the discussion has moved more towards applications and operations, businesses have started to realize that software skills are becoming more critical than ever before."
Among users who have moved from full production completely through the progression to a transformed IT stage, however, 63 percent rated the final transition as requiring significant effort.
The study also finds that more companies are relying on cloud computing for everyday business processes, with 59 percent for storage, 48 percent for business continuity and disaster recovery and 44 percent for security.
Another indicator that companies are expanding their reliance on the cloud is evidenced by the number of firms making secondary cloud migrations.
In the CompTIA study, 44 percent of companies say they’ve moved either infrastructure or applications from one public cloud to another, 25 percent moved from a public cloud into a private cloud and 24 percent moved from a public cloud back to an on-premise system.
"Security was the primary barrier to cloud adoption as the trend was ramping up, but with over 90 percent of companies now claiming some form of cloud adoption, businesses are obviously feeling more comfortable with the topic," Robinson said. "That doesn’t mean that security is not a concern. The initial cloud migration for many companies involves non-critical business systems. As companies push forward and put more critical applications in the cloud, they need to continue assessing risk and closing any security gaps between them and the cloud provider."