Mimecast, a supplier of cloud-based email security, continuity, policy control and archiving, has announced the results of the second annual Mimecast Cloud Adoption Survey, an annual research report examining attitudes to cloud computing services amongst IT decision-makers in UK and US businesses.


The survey, conducted by independent research firm, Loudhouse, reveals that a majority of organisations (51 percent) are now using some form of cloud computing service, and the levels of satisfaction amongst those companies is high across the board.  Conversely, companies not yet using cloud services cite concerns around cost and security.
The survey shows that of those businesses using cloud services, 74% say that the cloud has alleviated internal resource pressures, and 72% report an improved end-user experience. 73% have managed to reduced their infrastructure costs, while 57% say that the cloud has resulted in improved security. However, not everyone is convinced. 74% of IT departments still believe that there is always a trade-off between cost and IT security and 62% say that storing data on servers outside of the business is always a risk.
Highlights from the research include the following:
 
Cloud services are now the norm:
• The majority of organisations now use cloud-based services. The report found 51% of organisations are now using at least one cloud-based application. Adoption rates amongst US businesses are slightly ahead of the UK with 56 percent of respondents using at least one cloud-based application, compared to 50 percent in the UK. This is a significant rise from the 2009 survey, when just 36% of US businesses were using cloud services.
* Two thirds of businesses are considering adopting cloud computing. Encouragingly for vendors, 66% are now considering adopting cloud-based applications in the future. Again, US businesses are ahead of the UK in their attitudes to the cloud with 70% considering cloud services, compared to 60 percent in the UK.
* Email, security and storage are the most popular cloud services. 62 percent of the organisations that use cloud computing are using a cloud-based email application. Security and storage are the next most popular, used by 52% and 50% of organisations with at least one cloud-based service respectively. Email services are most popular with mid-size businesses (250 to 1 000 employees) with 70% of these organisations using the cloud to support this function.  Smaller businesses (under 250 employees) are most likely to use the cloud for security services, with larger enterprises (over 1 000 employees) most likely to make use of cloud storage services.
 
Cloud attitudes split between the ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots’:
* Existing cloud users are satisfied. Security is not considered to be an issue by existing cloud users: 57% say that moving data to the cloud has resulted in better security, with 58% saying it has given them better control of their data. 73% of current cloud users say it has reduced the cost of their IT infrastructure and 74% say it has alleviated the internal resource pressures upon the department.
* Security fears are still a barrier. Three quarters (74%) of IT departments agreed with the statement ‘there is always a trade-off between cost and IT security’, suggesting that many organisations feel cloud solutions are less secure than the more expensive, on-premise alternatives, simply due to their lesser cost. 62 percent believe that storing data on servers outside of the business is a significant security risk.
* IT is concerned that adopting cloud will not initially result in cost savings. 58% of respondents thought that replacing legacy IT solutions will almost always cost more than the benefits of new IT.
* Cloud concerns stem from a lack of clarity. One reason for the negative perceptions of cloud services among non-users seems to be a lack of clear communication from the industry itself. 54 percent of respondents said the potential benefits of cloud delivery models are overstated by the IT industry.
“It is great to see that cloud computing has now been embraced by the majority of organisations,” comments Peter Bauer, CEO and co-founder of Mimecast. “The fact that more than 50% of businesses are now using cloud-based applications – with two thirds currently considering adopting them – is hugely encouraging for the industry and a clear indication that IT is increasingly willing to innovate in order to get better value for money, increased reliability and greater control  of their data.”
“The research shows that there is a clear divide within the IT industry on the issue of cloud computing,” commented Peter Bauer, CEO and co-founder of Mimecast. “While those organisations that have embraced cloud services are clearly reaping the rewards, there are still a number who are put off by the ‘cloud myths’ around data security and the cost of replacing legacy IT. It is now up to cloud vendors to educate businesses and end users to ensure that these concerns do not overshadow the huge potential cost, security and performance benefits that cloud computing can bring.”