David Terrar, CEO Of D2C Limited, Co-founder Of Cloud Advocates

At the recent Cloud Expo Europe I was chairing the Cloud Industry Forum stream of content. We are big supporters of CIF which is a non-profit trade organization that champions and advocates the adoption and use of Cloud-based services by businesses and individuals. In fact I must disclose that I'm on the governance board for CIF's certifiable Code of Practice that provides transparency of Cloud services so that buyers can have clarity and confidence in their choice of provider.

At the show Andy Burton, CIF's chairman (his day job is CEO of Fasthosts Internet) presented their latest research and predictions for 2012. You can get then full story as one of 6 free white paper downloads, but here are some of the key points Andy discussed:

CIF have been carrying out a sequence of research across 300 end customers ranging from SMEs to Enterprises in both the public and private sector. The survey suggests that over half of the participate in cloud services today, and that's grown by 10% since the last survey 9 months ago.

Adoption seems to be fairly uniform across all sizes of organisation. The participants report tangible cost savings, but the primary driver for adoption is flexibility. Picking out a few key numbers - 96% were satisfied with their solutions, 73% said they would invest more in Cloud during 2012 and 85% see it as a core part of their IT strategy. Data in terms of security, privacy and sovereignty is still the number one concern, followed by Internet access, reliability and contractual lock-in. Concerns fuelled by Fear Uncertainty and Doubt and things like the Patriot Act mean that respondents favoured UK hosting.

Based on the survey, Andy concluded with CIF's 2012 predictions:

- Organisations adopting cloud services will grow over 20%

- 75% of those in the cloud will increase their use

- Organisational size will no longer be a determinant

- Public sector adoption will grow as a percentage share

- Most adopted services: Email, Storage, Web & Collaboration

- #1 concern to satisfy still Data Security, Privacy & Sovereignty

- IT strategy will embed cloud alongside on-premise

- IT Governance activity will drive distributed IT monitoring

- Private & Public Cloud will both grow but in different sectors

- Mobile and Cloud convergence will drive greatest process innovation

- Organisations will adopt independent standards to filter ITT’s

- Implementation/Management Services will differentiate successful suppliers.

These are some good pointers and on areas like data security and sovereignty, that is exactly where the CIF Code of Practice comes in to it's own by providing transparency of the Cloud supply chain. The CIF website is beginning to be a good resource with wide industry support, so it is well checking out to help in your investigation and decision making.

David Terrar is a consultant and software developer who specialises in the use of Cloud applications and social media in business. He is a co founder of Cloud Advocates, an association of consultants who aim to demystify the Cloud and provide pragmatic help and advice for businesses, organizations and accounting practices. To find out more, visit http://cloudadvocates.com/

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