London, 24 May, 2011: Colt, Europe’s leading information delivery platform, today published the results of its annual CIO survey, looking at cloud sentiment and deployment in European enterprises in 2011. This year’s research finds that while awareness of cloud computing continues to increase, the cloud agenda has shifted beyond concerns about security to a wider view of risk.
Almost two-thirds (63 per cent) of CIOs believe there are business risks associated with the transition from in-house IT management to a cloud service that could potentially damage a company’s reputation and affect customer relations. 42 per cent of respondents see the main risk coming from brand damage as a result of performance issues or security incidents, while 45 per cent view compromises in security as the biggest risk.
The survey highlights while few businesses in Europe have company-wide implementations of cloud computing to date (16 per cent), many enterprises believe the cloud will be their most significant IT operating method by 2014 (60 per cent). The findings from the research also reveal the key challenges for cloud adoption as companies look to take advantage of the scalable resource planning the cloud can offer; 58 per cent of respondents reported ease of transition as the key challenge for cloud adoption while quality assurance (55 per cent), cost justification (55 per cent) and regulation on security and control of customer data (54 per cent) were also top of mind.
“Whilst the absolute deployment of cloud services is very difficult to establish, the trend is clear”, comments Mark Leonard, Executive Vice President responsible for the CIO office at Colt. Companies are evaluating and deploying cloud services at a higher rate year-on-year, driven by the need to be more agile and responsive in today’s business climate. There is now a demand to bring together computing and network services supported with advanced systems that deliver a truly integrated end-to-end experience and ensure the predictable quality of service.”
As data – including private or company confidential information – is increasingly stored outside of an organisation, concerns about security dominate discussions about cloud computing. Despite being less significant than in last year’s survey (63 per cent in 2011 compared to 71 per cent in 2010), security is a particular issue for companies in the UK and Germany, with 74 and 70 per cent of IT decision makers respectively expressing their concerns. However it is worth noting that other issues associated with a more mature marketplace are starting to emerge such as supplier lock-in (46 per cent) and geographic location (31 per cent).
There is much discussion about the drivers and benefits of cloud computing. In the current economic climate, a key starting point of cloud adoption is substantially reduced or no capital spending for a given application in favour of a flexible, on-demand model helping enterprises to better adapt to market needs. Ease of transition and quality assurance are rated consistently high by all countries in the survey as the highest enabler needed for cloud adoption. Spain (59 per cent), and France (57 per cent) in particular cite this as a key enabler, while cost saving is important in the UK (63 per cent) and Benelux (55 per cent). In Germany the need for in-country government endorsement (45 per cent) is rated as the most important driver for cloud adoption.
The survey also captured CIOs preference of private versus public cloud infrastructures. Private clouds are particularly popular as an option in Spain (58 per cent), Germany (57 per cent) and the UK (56 per cent). As a sentiment, private clouds overcome security concerns whilst compromising on scalability and cost savings. It is here where we begin to see the emergence of the hybrid or enterprise cloud*, the preferred choice of one in five companies (21 per cent). Their popularity is likely to grow further with increased awareness of the benefits that a hybrid approach can bring.
“This research confirms our existing cloud philosophy; that the hype surrounding cloud computing is now giving way to a more comprehensive market understanding across Europe, comments Simon Walsh, Executive Vice President for Colt Enterprise Services. ”As these services are maturing, enterprises recognise the need to support an IT evolution rather than immediately re-design their IT to better align to cloud models.”
*Defined by the NIST as a combination of two or more cloud models; private and/or public bound together to enable data and application portability)
About the research
The Colt European CIO Cloud Survey was conducted by Loudhouse, an independent marketing research consultancy based in London. The survey comprised more than 500 online interviews IT decision makers in companies with a turnover of at least €100K and some level of familiarity with cloud computing. The research was conducted in early 2011. At least 100 interviews were conducted in each of the UK, France, Germany, Spain and Benelux.
Colt is Europe’s leading information delivery platform, enabling its customers to deliver, share, process and store their vital business information. An established leader in delivering integrated computing and network services to major organisations, midsized businesses and wholesale customers, Colt operates a 21-country, 33,000km network that includes metropolitan area networks in 38 major European cities with direct fibre connections into 17,000 buildings and 19 Colt data centres.
In 2010, the Colt Data Centre Services business was launched to deliver innovative high quality modular data centres which are rapid to deploy and power efficient.
Colt is listed on the London Stock Exchange (COLT). Information about Colt and its services can be found at www.colt.net.
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Thomas Andrews, Weber Shandwick
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François d’Essertaux, Colt
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