IT and Business Insights for SMB Solution Providers

New Spiceworks Research Shows 'Cloud Myths' Remain Popular

Significant percentages of IT professionals continue to believe that cloud solutions are always less secure and more expensive than on-premises equivalents. By Rich Freeman

Large numbers of IT professionals continue to question cloud computing’s cost-effectiveness and security, according to a newly published research study by partner community and managed services tool provider Spiceworks Inc., of Austin, Texas.

The survey found that 29 percent of IT workers in North America, Europe, the Middle East, and Africa believe that personal and financial data should not be stored in the cloud, while 24 percent assert that corporate data is more vulnerable in online repositories than when stored on-site. In addition, 33 percent of poll respondents say that on-premises servers are more cost-effective over time than cloud-based services.

All three beliefs are “cloud myths,” according to Spiceworks IT analyst Peter Tsai. “Security is always a concern when it comes to cloud services, however it might be an outdated assumption that organizations should not store important information on cloud servers,” he writes in the report. For example, Tsai continues, encrypted data is as safe in the cloud as it is on local servers and nearly 50 percent of organizations currently encrypt data both in transit and at rest, according to separate Spiceworks research.

Similarly, Tsai argues, corporate data is no less secure, and may even be better protected, in cloud data centers versus an SMB’s server closet.

“Cloud providers typically employ dedicated security experts and on-site physical security staff at their facilities to help safeguard information, which many smaller companies cannot afford,” says Tsai in the Spiceworks report.

Tsai also argues that there’s no consistent rule as to whether cloud services are more or less economical than on-site servers. Different companies can experience different results, he observes, based on how many servers they use and how heavily they utilize those devices.

Other commonly held assumptions revealed in the new study are better grounded in reality, Tsai says. For example, 57 percent of poll respondents agree that cloud services have made so-called “shadow IT,” in which end users purchase technology services on their own rather than through a channel pro or IT department, more problematic. That squares with an earlier Spiceworks survey on security showing that nearly half of IT pros call shadow IT a threat, Tsai notes, as well as research from Cisco published in January.

Some 49 percent of survey participants, meanwhile, believe that on-premises hardware spending is declining due to the rise of cloud computing, a finding confirmed by data in Spiceworks’ annual State of IT report showing that hardware outlays will drop four percent in 2016 while cloud expenditures will rise two percent.

Tsai encourages IT professionals who endorse more questionable views about cloud computing to re-evaluate their thinking, now and on a regular basis.

“In the constantly changing world of IT, it's important to keep an open mind and not get locked into one mode of thinking,” he writes. “Even if certain assumptions were true at one point in time, advances in technology and changes in pricing could change a reality into a myth in short order.”

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