Study: Adoption of cloud services on the rise

According to a new report from technology solutions provider CDW, the number of U.S. organizations using cloud computing is on the rise. The “2013 State of the Cloud Report,” which surveyed more than 1,200 IT professionals, found that 39 percent of organizations are implementing or maintaining cloud solutions, up from 28 percent in 2011.

Perhaps the biggest driver for this increase in cloud adoption amongst organizations is the personal use of cloud services by employees. In fact, 73 percent of respondents said they believed the personal use of cloud applications and mobile devices had “significantly influenced” their organization’s decision to adopt cloud computing solutions and 68 percent said that employees request for cloud services have increased over the last two years.

Cost factors were another driver cited by respondents as having an impact on cloud adoption. These factors and the percentage of respondents who said their organization considered them in comparison with traditional IT services include:

  • Software management costs – 65 percent
  • Software licensing costs – 63 percent
  • IT labor costs – 52 percent
  • Cost of capital to the organization – 41 percent
  • Electric bills for IT operations – 21 percent
  • Real estate costs – 12 percent

The main application that organizations are shifting to the cloud is data storage. Although the report shows a general trend of increasing cloud adoption, the rate at which different types of organizations are making the shift varies. A breakdown of the percentage of organizations implementing or maintaining cloud computing in 2012 is as follows:

  • Large business – 44 percent
  • Higher education – 43 percent
  • Small business – 42 percent
  • Federal government – 42 percent
  • K-12 schools – 42 percent
  • Mid-sized business – 40 percent
  • Healthcare – 35 percent
  • State and local government – 27 percent   

Despite these gains, one of the biggest barriers to cloud adoption remains security concerns. According to the report, 46 percent of respondents said that concerns with the security of proprietary data or applications hampered adoption.  

According to Stephen Braat, general manager of cloud solutions at CDW, the fact that security remains one of the top cloud adoption concerns year after year reinforces the need for service providers to get out in front of the issue.

"In our experience, cloud providers can achieve this by describing the security policies, controls, and infrastructure they enforce on behalf of the customer and by architecting a solution that mitigates security issues – real or perceived," he explained. "For example, and to no surprise, the industries where security tends to lead the discussion are healthcare and financial services.  Providers in those industries have achieved early success with security in business applications via private and hybrid cloud solutions."

However, security is not the dominate impeding factor it once was as concerns about performance (32 percent) and the technical aspects of integrating cloud services with existing infrastructure (25 percent) were close behind in the report.

"We typically see these concerns arise as a matter of normal dialogue on business continuity," said Braat. "Cloud subscribers are well advised to understand whether their solutions provide business continuity natively or whether they should make additional investment in order to meet their needs.  Behind most cloud outages – big or small – is a root cause that many prefer to attribute to the provider, and they would almost always be right.  However, there may also be instances where cloud performance issues should be attributed to subscribers that have not provisioned their services adequately.  In either case, the best course is to ensure that cloud solutions – as delivered and provisioned – are durable enough to meet the contingencies of the business."

For more information or to download a copy of the full report, visit