UK risks falling behind in cloud adoption, report reveals

Cloud adoption is slower than UK businesses would like, due to issues around data protection, legislation and regulation, a survey has revealed

Cloud adoption is much slower than UK businesses would like, mainly due to issues around data protection, legislation and regulation.

More than a quarter of UK decision makers say these issues are to blame for slow adoption, according to research by security and risk firm WideAngle, NTT Com Security (formerly Integralis).

Almost a third of UK respondents said these issues have “significantly” slowed adoption and 29% say they have affected it “to some extent”. This comprises a total of 86%, compared with an average of 76% across all countries surveyed.

Financial services (36%), petrochemicals (39%) and healthcare (27%) organisations are most affected by legislation and compliance issues, citing them as the primary reason for slow cloud take-up.

The global study polled decision-makers in 700 organisations across the UK, North America, Germany, Scandinavia, Singapore, Japan and Hong Kong.

While 36% of UK companies have adopted cloud in the past 12 to 24 months, 22% have yet to adopt it, compared with an average of 14% globally. 

Although just 10% of UK respondents have already moved most data and services into the cloud, 42% will transition it in the next two years and 18% after that. 

Yet, 30% said they will never move their data, a figure only topped by Scandinavia with 42%.

Compliance minefield

“Cloud is a well-established and maturing technology, but levels of adoption still vary across different geographies,” said Garry Sidaway, global director of secure strategy at WideAngle.

“With increasingly complex data laws in the UK, it is become something of a minefield for businesses looking to become more agile and efficient using cloud, but perhaps feeling they are being held back.”

This is exacerbated by the fact that businesses in the UK typically have a much more conservative approach to cloud adoption than other countries, said Tom Salkield, director UK professional services at WideAngle.

“Businesses in the UK risk lagging behind because they are not exploiting the opportunity and potential of cloud computing to the full,” Salkield told Computer Weekly.

The study shows that UK companies using cloud services see significant business advantage in business agility and cost savings, said Salkield.

According to the survey, 40% of UK respondents acknowledged an increase in revenue and 23% an increase in profits from cloud computing. 

Despite concerns, when asked which infrastructure they would choose to deliver secure services to the business, 42% of UK respondents opt for some form of cloud, with 22% selecting private, 19% hybrid and 1% public cloud. 

But when questioned about regulatory issues, 48% would choose a corporately owned datacentre and 20% a third-party hosted datacentre as the best way to comply with regulations, with less than a third opting for a cloud model.

Although at risk of lagging behind because of a conservative approach, the 36% of UK organisations polled said they had adopted some form of cloud in the past two years.

The UK adoption in the past two years was followed by Germany (34%), North America and Singapore (31%), Japan (25%), and Hong Kong and Scandinavia (18%).

Range of enthusiasm for cloud

According to the study report, all organisations fit into five cloud “personas” defined by their levels of enthusiasm for cloud computing and the extent of their adoption. 

Ranging from "Controllers" at one end of the scale, distinctive by their lack of cloud enthusiasm, the five personas also include "Accepters", "Experimenters", "Believers" and "Embracers" - the latter the most enthusiastic about cloud who  have benefited most from its use.

“What's interesting is that it is possible to see attributes of these cloud personas identified in the report in different countries, although we defined them on a global level, with the UK falling into the 'Controller 'and 'Accepter' personas,” said Sidaway.

“Whatever stage countries are at, cloud is playing an increasingly important role as organisations seek to move into new territories and be more agile and competitive."

The study revealed that organisations in North America are the most cloud enthusiastic, with 28% saying they have already moved most of their data and services into the cloud, followed by Germany with 24%.

When it comes to innovation, North America leads again – with 59% actively seeking out and experimenting with emerging technologies – followed by Singapore (41%), Japan (26%), Germany (21%) and the UK (20%).

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There is a place for cloud, but what will you say to your boss when he can not write a letter when your internet goes down. No good pretending it wont go down, but can you live with the odds?

Cloud may save OpEx in year one, but by year 10 your own data Room will have saved a fortune - Why else would all the vendors be pushing it?

I am surprised it is only 30% saying no - add me in!


Sorry, but this assumption that we're "falling behind" in "cloud adoption" implies that somehow, we're losing some kind of mystical, cloud-related technological advantage. What a load of b*ll*x. The Cloud, like any other tool, does what it does. It has advantages and disadvantages. Some of the latter have been highlighted in recent months (NSA, Nirvanix, Google T&C etc. etc.). The advantages (potential cost savings, optimised sharing, convenient access, etc.) are already fairly clear - but here's the thing: they're not exclusive to the Cloud. The various ways of sharing information efficiently (between users and/or devices) have exploded over the past couple of years, and while the concept of the Cloud has driven many of the advances, many of the solutions are not directly Cloud-related at all. Concepts like the Transporter, BitTorrent Sync, or the various ingenious NAS-sharing approaches taken by e.g. Synology and Western Digital, are not based on the Cloud as such. Why everybody should be hurling themselves off the Cloud Cliff is, in any case, a mystery: I have absolutely no interest in being solely dependent for my valuable corporate data on some commercial clown who might (a) lose it, (b) abuse it or (c) refuse it (by going bust, arbitrarily imposing content rules etc. etc. etc.). So let's all grow up and stop treating the Cloud as anything other than what it is: an interesting technological trend that needs to be treated, like any other trend, with due caution and, dare I say, diligence.