By Claire West

The perceived lack of confidence in Cloud based technology is seen as one of the biggest barriers to adoption, according to the latest research conducted by the UK based Cloud Industry Forum.

One third of the 100 businesses questioned in a recent survey organised by the Cloud Industry Forum stated that this was the biggest hurdle the industry had to overcome to see mainstream migration to the cloud. However 69% of the same sample stated that to overcome this a Code of Practice would be an important driver in the decision making process in selecting a supplier; 28% stated it would be essential.

Of those questioned 18% felt that the hype surrounding the cloud was in fact detrimental to its adoption, while 34% cited security concerns as a major barrier to migration.

Key findings include:

•69% of business executives felt that the cloud was going to become increasingly important in the next couple of years

•Of those already operating in the cloud 23% were using cloud solutions for backup and disaster recovery; 22% for data storage, 22% for communications and collaboration, 17% for sales and marketing applications and only 9% for finance and ERP applications

•Not surprisingly cost savings topped the list of perceived business benefits cited by 35% of those questioned; 19% of the sample focused on reduced data centre space, 15% highlighted the reduction in man hour requirements and 11% stated improved data access.

•When looking for a supplier end users are looking for a number of detailed service specifications including cost savings (30%), reduced complexity (21%), new functionality (27%), and speed to market (13%).

Andy Burton, Chairman of the Cloud Industry Forum and Chief Executive of Fasthosts, stated: “These findings clearly highlight that the hype over the Cloud has yet to die down. As a result many businesses remain somewhat sceptical over the promises that some vendors and suppliers are making. This lack of confidence is clear and yet when asked what would make any selection process easier the overwhelming majority would favour a Code of Practice to help make an informed choice. The advantages of cloud services over on-premise are often well understood, but making a clear choice of service provider is less clear.

“Businesses are increasingly aware of the benefits that the cloud can bring and in these straightened times cost reduction and flexibility are messages that resonates loud and clear. However for the cloud to become the commercial success those in the industry claim it to be, there are a number of key issues suppliers need to address from transparency to reliability and from accountability to security of operations. The Code of Practice we have developed following extensive review and public consultation will be launched later this month. Our goal is to address these end user concerns by improving accessibility to meaningful and consistent information across vendors to help deliver on the promises migrating to the cloud can make.”

The research specifically asked what issues must the industry as a whole address to make the cloud a long-term success for UK businesses. Respondents ranked security of operation, reliability of operations, capability and processes, transparency of vendor identity/financial strength, and, service level reporting as the top five issues in order that needed addressing.

“What we launch this month is an objective, transparent approach to the definition and delivery of Cloud computing and the provision of sufficient information for prospective customers to make an informed decision on just which supplier can offer the best solution for a particular business need. The Cloud Industry Forum intend to drive the debate to ensure that Cloud service providers work in a common interest to ensure that challenges to cloud adoption are addressed in this industry-wide Code of Practice,” concluded Andy.