Security and integration issues are still the biggest fears users have about moving to cloud computing – but these concerns haven't slowed the rate at which companies have implemented cloud-based applications.

Mimecast has announced the results of its Cloud Computing Adoption Survey, which examined the perception and adoption of cloud computing solutions among 565 respondents responsible for managing their organisations' IT operations and budget across the US and Canada in late 2009.
Data from the recently completed online survey highlights the complex, often contrasting, thought process of IT decision makers regarding cloud computing. The well-known fears with cloud computing appear to be at odds with reality, as the survey findings suggest strong satisfaction with cloud computing once it is installed – 70% of IT decision makers already using cloud computing are planning to move additional solutions to the cloud – most within the next 12 months. This indicates that those respondents have come to quickly recognize the inherent ease of implementation, robust security features and cost-savings of cloud computing.
The survey also reveals that companies’ fears about the cloud are waning, with 62% of all respondents considering cloud computing.
When asked what would change their minds about cloud computing, respondents ranked more mature solutions and better integration with existing systems as their top two needs (33% for maturity, 32% for integration).
However, security concerns and existing investments remain the biggest roadblocks to further adoption. The findings show that security concerns were the leading reason given by respondents in all categories for not moving forward with cloud-based applications –  46% of respondents that had considered cloud-based applications chose security as the main reason for not moving forward.  This was also true across a majority of industries, including financial services (76%), energy (75%), government (67%), retail (61%) and technology (40%).
The investments made in current IT infrastructure and worries about integration also prevented companies from taking the next step toward cloud computing.  32% of respondents that had considered cloud-based applications named existing infrastructure investments as the reason for not moving to the cloud; while 26% said that legacy/integration worries had stopped them from going any further. Between the time and effort spent building their current infrastructure and fears around integrating existing systems into the cloud, respondents and their companies have been afraid to abandon what they know for what they don’t.
Cost also continued to be a concern for those considering cloud computing, especially among government (67%), healthcare (52%) and legal (40%) respondents. This may have more to do with this year’s decreased IT budgets than the expense of cloud services.
However, of those that have already implemented the cloud, 81% of legal, 77% of retail, 75% of government, 74% of technology, 72% of healthcare and 68% of financial services respondents were planning on moving additional applications to it in the future – showing that these fears can be overcome.
The top three industries adopting cloud computing solutions are technology (with 53%), financial services (40%) and legal (37%). This statistic shows that respondents within heavily-regulated markets such as legal and financial services do not share the belief that cloud-based services make it harder to prove compliance with industry regulations. Government has the smallest adoption, with only 19% using cloud-based solutions.
The survey also found that e-mail and CRM applications add the most value, at 23% and 18% respectively. 33% of this group have moved e-mail management to the cloud, 26% deployed cloud-based CRM systems, 26% moved email archiving and 22% have moved storage functions.
Cost savings (54%) are still the primary motivation behind the adoption of cloud-based services.  However, there is evidence that the other business benefits of cloud computing are gaining ground.
One of the major benefits of the cloud is its ability to make an enterprise better prepared to react and respond to unexpected changes – or to easily add-on new services as needed.
The findings show that 49% of respondents support this idea, indicating agility/scalability as a main reason for moving services to the cloud. In addition, respondents also rated efficiency (39%) and streamlined administration (36%) as key reasons. As the adoption of cloud-based services grows, so does the understanding of its value.