The number of first-time users of cloud computing services in the UK has increased by 27% from last year, according to research from the Cloud Industry Forum (CIF).
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But the CIF survey showed that, while the rate of adoption has accelerated, concerns over cloud computing security issues remain high.
The study of 250 UK IT decision-makers in private and public sector organisations, conducted by Vanson Bourne, found 61% of companies are using a cloud-based service, compared with just 48% in 2011.
It also revealed a growing maturity among users with more organisations demanding to trial services before they buy them. More than half (59%) of respondents said they conducted a pilot study before signing the supplier.
“Cloud service providers should ensure that such trial capabilities are made available to demonstrate transparency of practice and capability. This in turn assists in establishing trust between the customer and the provider,” said CIF chairman Andy Burton.
This maturity is contributing to the evolution of cloud contracts and industry-wide standards, according to CIF. Beforehand, one of the main factors hindering cloud adoption was the lack of meaningful standards.
Cloud computing concerns
Despite growth and maturity in cloud adoption, security and data privacy remained the biggest concerns for users when migrating to a cloud-based IT delivery model.
Almost 90% of public sector respondents and 78% of private sector respondents admitted data security was their primary worry. Other concerns expressed were fear of losing IT control, supplier lock-in, data sovereignty and cost of migration.
But a vast majority (92%) of existing cloud users said they were satisfied with their experience and over three-quarters said they would increase cloud usage further over the next year. IT flexibility and cost savings were the primary reasons for the rise in cloud adoption.
With cloud becoming a mainstream technology option, its challenges have changed too, Burton said. The challenge, now, is about integrating cloud in the wider IT agenda of the business, as well as managing it, he said.
Only 8% of respondents said they will not use cloud services in the next year.
Based on the findings, the industry body has predicted that, by the end of 2013, more than 75% of UK businesses will be using at least one type of cloud service. It also forecast that, of existing cloud users, 80% will increase their spending on cloud computing.