As cloud components gain more and more acceptance in IT architectures, more companies are relying on cloud computing for business processes than ever before. Storage is the primary usage scenario (59%), followed by business continuity/disaster recovery (48%), and security (44%), according to CompTIA, a technology research and market intelligence company.
Cloud computing is becoming an integral part of the IT landscape, a requirement even. In its report – 5th Annual Trends In Cloud Computing – CompTIA identifies four distinct phases that a given company will go through as it incorporates the cloud into their business operations.
Businesses that are on the cusp of adopting cloud technology usually prefer to build familiarity with the model first. In the Experiment phase, companies get acquainted with terminology and basic working principles, amd may go as far as to build sample virtual instances or use free trial software to test the cloud system in question.
“These proof-of-concept undertakings will most often be performed on public cloud systems, since they are readily available and require minimal investment. Companies may investigate the pros and cons of private clouds, but very few will begin building out those systems at this time,” says CompTIA.
Once the testing phase is over and done with, a company whose managers are keen to leverage cloud benefits will move into a non-critical use stage, according to the research firm. At this stage, cloud systems will be used for operational workflow, but will not be entrusted with sensitive data.
“Typically, a peripheral system will be chosen, which still allows companies to learn the fine details behind a cloud transition and also gain a first-hand appreciation for the integration challenges.”
This stage can be used to assess the potential benefits of cloud integration. If successful, the process moves into the third and most important step:
Companies will only move into this phase when they’ve achieved total comfort using the cloud model. Businesses that find themselves at this stage have mitigated their security concerns, have understood all the benefits, and view cloud systems as viable, sometimes even critical for their operations.
As the company changes the way it procures and utilizes technology, new policies and procedures will be built, while existing ones will be modified. The final step in the progression – which follows below– is basically a conclusion to these three phases.
Only companies that are well versed in cloud matters will find themselves at this stage, according to the study. A company currently experiencing Transformed IT will have embraced the cloud five to seven years ago – around the time cloud computing actually started to take shape. This type of company will have most likely built their entire business around cloud solutions.
“Here, companies are not simply moving existing systems or applications into the cloud; they are changing the way they work in order to reap the full benefit,” CompTIA explains.
For these companies, the cloud is no longer a separate entity that they manage in addition to other aspects of the business, but a vital component of their company’s architecture as a whole.
“Even with the typical inflation that comes with self-classification, very few companies place themselves in the Transformed IT stage. Full Production may be slightly inflated, but the majority of firms today should fall somewhere in the middle two categories. A healthy number of firms are still entering the market, led by small firms and those firms that may have a more cautious approach based on technology familiarity or regulatory concerns,” CompTIA concludes.
The quantitative online survey was carried out on 400 IT firms in the United States during July 2014. The margin of sampling error at the 95% confidence level was +/- 5.0 percentage points. Research Now helped CompTIA with the data collection using an independent panel.