Security of cloud services remains a top priority, although just 28 percent of respondents identified security as the largest source of problems for their current cloud services, according to a survey of more than 1,200 IT professionals by IT solutions specialist CDW.
The report measures the successes and struggles that organizations across multiple industries experienced as they deployed data, storage or application services in the cloud.
"One of the biggest challenges of cloud integration is failing to understand both the internal and external requirements to support an application," Shane Zide, cloud client executive for CDW, told eWEEK. "For example, if an organization builds an application in the cloud, but half of the build is required on legacy hardware internally, then you have added complexity that may compromise the application's performance, compared to user expectations."
The report indicated that reliability of service is key; 43 percent of organizations ranked it the most important attribute in a provider, significantly ahead of lowest total cost (at just 25 percent).
However, more than three-fourths of cloud professionals said at least one of their cloud vendors has failed to meet a service-level agreement (SLA).
"Unique to cloud computing, organizations must clearly understand their cloud providers' security protocols; otherwise, they may not meet the necessary requirements," Zide said. "Of note, there are very few reports of public cloud security breaches in the news media, which makes sense because a data security breach would be a death knell for public cloud providers. Thus, they deploy the best security appliance and IT security talent they can obtain."
Financial modeling of cloud costs and benefits can be tricky, as 53 percent of respondents said their financial models were off by more than 10 percent, compared with actual experience.
More than a third of IT services today are delivered partially or totally in the cloud, and looking ahead, the survey found that organizations will continue to embrace the cloud, with respondents expecting that they will implement 35 percent of new IT services in the cloud.
The survey also found that cloud implementation becomes easier with experience.
Organizations reported that their initial cloud implementation took an average of 14 weeks to complete, and subsequent implementations took 10 weeks, on average. More than half of the organizations responding said they now complete typical implementations in six weeks or less.
Among the wide range of cloud services available, organizations most frequently implement those that are simpler to transition, with storage, email and Web hosting services the most widely delivered through the cloud and easiest to transition.
"Cloud technology will allow businesses to make big bets on innovation that can drive them into new markets and, if necessary, reduce the cost risk of failure by reducing the financial impact of supporting innovation on traditional IT delivery," Zide said. "Having the agility to spin up a new business without the capital needed for IT will allow entrepreneurs to concentrate on their actual business model and not being in the IT business."