Cloud technology is proving to be vital to the long-term growth and development of businesses in an increasingly decentralised modern economy. However, what are the current opinions of cloud tech, and what are the challenges around improving these perceptions? Although adoption is speeding up, there’s still a degree of scepticism surrounding the cloud, so it’s necessary to understand the roots of these suspicions in order to overcome them.
Our experts surveyed workplaces across a range of industries to discover what they think about cloud technology, how it compares to traditional forms of computing, and what may be preventing further adoption.
Cloud uptake by company size
The first question we asked was how many firms are currently using cloud technology in their day-to-day operations.
We stratified the answers by business size, and the results can be seen in the below graph. Generally speaking, cloud adoption positively correlates with business size, until it gets to 500+ employees (where it suddenly drops off):
Sole traders may be slower to adopt the cloud as the benefits might be less apparent. Working alone, they may not need the real time collaboration with colleagues, and perhaps feel that information is just as easily accessed (and secure) on a laptop or office-based computer. There are still, however, great benefits for many sole traders. This includes the ability to access up-to-the-minute data from any internet-connected location, as well as features such as improved security for sensitive data.
Businesses with 500+ employees also seem to be slower to adopt the cloud, perhaps because of concerns around possible loss of productivity (and interruption to processes) during a large-scale migration. They may have also invested heavily in legacy systems, and would perhaps be reluctant to ditch those in favour of newer technologies. Or they may fear that the legacy system (which employees are familiar with) can’t be moved to a virtual cloud environment. However, having real time access to information is essential for collaboration within larger teams. Particularly for those working across different sites (or those that do remote/hybrid working), as this provides far more flexibility and efficiency than the rigid data structures inherent in legacy systems.
We also looked at how cloud adoption differs by region. Unsurprisingly, London has the strongest rates of adoption. Conversely, the North and South East of England have generally poorer uptake. Perhaps there is work yet to be done to improve the image of cloud technology within these areas.
Trust in security by industry
Data security is an ever-present concern when it comes to cloud technology. Data breaches were found to cost an average of $4.24 million each in 2021. Therefore, we looked at opinions on data security compared to the past, and the results were encouraging:
The vast majority of respondents appear to agree that security safeguards in cloud tech have improved, and this finding is reaffirmed by the sheer number of organisations that have migrated, or are currently moving to cloud-based solutions. The old preconception that data stored in the cloud is less secure (than data held in on-site legacy systems) is now firmly in decline. Some high-profile data breaches in recent years were cause for concern, so cloud server providers have responded with a raft of changes that now improve upon the measures most organisations can put in place in-house. These providers are investing heavily in cybersecurity with billion pound budgets for research, innovation, and protection. However, the manufacturing industry was less sure than the others, indicating that additional work has to be done to improve scepticism among manufacturers.
We also wanted to see if there was a consensus on the tangible benefits of using cloud technology instead of traditional forms of computing. Generally, most agreed that there was a real financial benefit to cloud adoption. But this debate is far from over, and there are still improvements to be made.
Providers of cloud-based solutions should try to reinforce that technology implementation has a number of tangible cost benefits. Ever-changing legislation and regulations create challenges that many organisations do not have the time or resources to keep on top of. And getting these wrong can be costly, both in terms of fines and reputational damage.
Cloud systems that have in-built compliance provide great peace of mind. They also use automation and other time-saving features to support greater productivity, which results in a more efficient and profitable business model. Businesses that were using on-site legacy systems found it more difficult to pivot to remote working during the pandemic. Whereas those that had already implemented cloud technology found it much easier to manage their newly dispersed workforce.