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Australia’s demand for cloud continues to soar

Over 40% of local businesses are now using public cloud services, though the lack of cloud skills remains a key barrier to wider adoption

The appetite for public cloud services in Australia continues to grow, with 42% of businesses in the country reporting the use of cloud computing compared with 31% in 2015-16, a government survey has found.

According to the Business characteristics survey conducted by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), adoption of public cloud services grew across companies of all sizes in 2017-18, with larger firms of 200 or more employees being the keenest adopters.

The study also revealed that insufficient knowledge of paid cloud computing services was the greatest factor limiting or preventing its use, as cited by 17% of businesses.

In addition, the ABS noted that over three-quarters of what it deemed as innovative businesses (78%) indicated that cloud technology was of some importance, compared with only 53% of non-innovative businesses.

Australia’s growing cloud adoption rates have been well documented by industry analyst firm Gartner, which expects the local cloud market to grow by 20.6% to reach A$5.6bn in 2019.

Major global public cloud players, including Amazon Web Services and Microsoft, have established key datacentre facilities in the country, including those catered to the needs of public sector agencies.

Rafael Moyano, managing director of Modis, which has worked with clients across multiple industries on cloud technology projects, said while there has been strong progress on cloud adoption in Australia, businesses are still being held back by a skills gap.

He called for Australian businesses and education institutions to upskill the workforce to take advantage of advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence and machine learning that have become more accessible through the cloud.

“A closer relationship between educators and the technology industry, along with internal business training programmes, will help ensure teaching aligns with market needs,” said Moyano.

He added that businesses which lack internal knowledge could turn to technology consulting partners to facilitate cloud migrations, maintain managed cloud services and provide trained staff with the expertise needed to reap the benefits of cloud.

Besides cloud adoption, the ABS study also quizzed Australian businesses on cyber security incidents and breach indicators, which measure the trust businesses have for online environments and their capabilities to protect themselves against cyber security risks.

In 2017-18, more than half of businesses surveyed indicated that cyber security was of some importance, compared with 47% of businesses in 2015-16. About nine in 10 companies with 200 or more employees indicated that cyber security was of some importance in 2017-18.

Over the year, 11% of businesses reported internet security incidents or breaches. Manufacturing and wholesale trade industries had the highest proportion of businesses that reported internet security incidents or breaches (18%).

For those that reported an internet security breach or incident, service downtime was the most common impact of the breach or incident (52%).

In 2017-18, more than half of businesses with 200 or more employees upgraded their cyber security software, standards or protocols (52%), compared with approximately a third of these businesses in 2015-16 (34%).

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