The current state of cloud computing in enterprises this year has been telling; a recent IDG survey of IT personnel that measured cloud computing trends (usage and deployment plans) identified the following top challenges:
- Cloud computing security. 67 percent of the respondents were concerned with cloud computing security, including unauthorized access, data integrity and data protection, which is up from 61 percent a year ago. Concerns surrounding cloud computing security will likely grow into next year as cloud adoption rates continue to climb.
- Integration. 43 percent of respondents were concerned about making information available to applications that are outside of the cloud and preserving a uniform set of access privileges, which is actually down from 46 percent a year ago.
- Industry standards. Concerns about cloud computing solutions’ ability to meet enterprise or industry standards jumped from 27 percent last year to 35 percent this year.
- Governance and management. Concerns about information governance and management fell to 30 percent of respondents from 35 percent a year ago.
- Measuring ROI. 27 percent of respondents mentioned their difficulty measuring ROI and determining the accurate economic value of cloud computing solutions, which is down compared to 30 percent from a year ago.
- Lack of a clear strategy. The lack of a clear strategy or help from key vendors in adapting applications to cloud computing platforms was down to only 16 percent from 20 percent the previous year.
- Business leaders. Business leaders not being receptive to cloud computing solutions rose to 15 percent from 11 percent the previous year.
- Employees. Employees not being receptive to cloud computing solutions remains steady at 10 percent of respondents.
Despite these concerns, cloud adoption continues to be driven by tactical need, even at an individual level. But to overcome the very real challenges of cloud computing, start with these nine questions:
- What mobile devices will be allowed? If these devices are used for accessing business-related, cloud-based apps, how will they be managed?
- What company data can be accessed via the cloud-based apps?
- Are there restrictions as to what cloud apps can be used?
- Will passwords be required to access the apps?
- What will IT support cover when it comes to app or cloud usage?
- Do you have a protocol in place in the event of a data breach?
- What are your long-term expectations for your data storage requirements?
- Do you have a cloud usage policy in place for data? What can be stored where and when?
- Do you have a data backup plan in place?
These questions can help inform your public cloud usage procedures, but the key is putting them into a workable policy that’s actively communicated across the organization—the concerns that IDG surfaces in their survey can be overcome with an effective policy in place.