Indian cos not lagging in cloud adoption

CIOL Bureau
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MUMBAI, INDIA: Indian organizations have mixed feelings when it comes to security, with a majority ranking it as both a top concern and top goal of moving to the cloud, according to a survey by Symantec Corp.

The survey also revealed that IT organizations may not be adequately prepared for the move to the cloud, as almost 70 per cent of the respondents said their IT staffers are not ready at this time.


The '2011 State of Cloud Survey' examined how organizations are adopting cloud computing and dealing with the changes it can impose on their approach to managing IT.

“The survey findings highlight what we hear from our interactions with customers here. They are interested in what the cloud has to offer yet, when it comes to implementation, they are hesitant, primarily due to concerns over security of their information,” said Ajay Goel, managing director (India and SAARC), Symantec.

“The only way they can make this move successful is when they have the same visibility and control of their information and applications, whether in the cloud or within their own infrastructure.”


The survey focused on various forms of cloud computing, including Public and Private Software-as-a-Service, Hybrid Infrastructure or Platform-as-Service, as well as Public and Private Infrastructure or Platform-as-a-Service.

Security - both a concern and a goal

According to the survey, Indian organizations are conflicted about security — rating it both as a top goal and as a top concern with moving to the cloud. Eighty-seven per cent of respondents are confident that moving to the cloud will not impact or will actually improve their security.


However, achieving security for cloud environments is also a top concern for these organizations, which cited potential risks including mass malware outbreak, hacker-based theft and loss of confidential data.

Lack of skilled IT staff

Despite a great deal of consideration, many organizations claimed that they are not ready to adopt the cloud. The minority of respondents (between 16 and 24 per cent) rated their staff as extremely prepared for the transition to cloud. Almost 70 per cent of the respondents said their IT staff is not ready at this time.


One of the main reasons for this readiness shortfall is lack of experience, as just one-third have cloud experience.

As a result, most organizations are currently turning to outside resources for help. In fact, when deploying hybrid infrastructure or platform-as-a-service, about 75 per cent respondents said they are turning to systems integrators, value added resellers (VARs), independent consultants, vendor professional services organizations.


Not far along in implementation


Many organizations are talking about moving to the cloud, with over 80 per cent at least discussing all forms of cloud. Notably, the study found a high interest in cloud services. Eighty-two per cent of respondents have adopted or are adopting some sort of cloud service, with security services leading the way. The top cloud services companies are adopting include email services (such as management or security); web and IM security and virtual desktop.

However, few have fully migrated to the cloud. Less than 20 per cent reported having completed implementing each of the cloud focus areas covered by the research. About 1 in 4 organizations are currently in an implementation phase. About two-thirds are still in early discussions, trials or not considering a move to the cloud at all.

SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) enjoys the highest level of familiarity amongst Indian organizations, with 68 per cent of respondents testing the move to the cloud with this model.


Gaps between expectations and reality

The survey discovered that organizations having implemented cloud technologies are not seeing the results/benefits they had anticipated. Eighty-five per cent expected cloud to improve their IT agility, but only 57 per cent said that it actually did. Results also fell short in the areas of disaster recovery, efficiency, lower operational expenses and improved security.

“Respondents across the Asia South region are no different from the Indian enterprises and have echoed similar sentiments about their move to the cloud. In 2012, more and more enterprises will see the growing relevance of cloud as it promises the benefits of speed, flexibility and cost efficiency,” said Eric Hoh, vice president, Asia South Region, Symantec.


“To leverage these benefits effectively, IT organizations must ensure they have the same visibility and control of their information and applications whether they are in the cloud or residing on their own infrastructure.”


Take the lead in embracing cloud computing. IT needs to take a proactive role in embracing the cloud. Too many IT organizations today are taking a slow, methodical, conservative approach to moving to the cloud.

As an IT leader, you should maintain control of important aspects such as security, availability and cost. That's hard to do unless your staff has received the proper training and preparation.

Set information and application tiers. Not all of your information and applications are created equally. Perform an analysis and place your information and applications into tiers to determine what you feel comfortable moving to the cloud.

Assess your risk and set appropriate policies. Assure critical information is only accessible by authorized users and that critical information doesn't leave the company. You should also make sure cloud vendors can meet your compliance requirements. Finally, assess potential cloud vendors for operational issues such as high availability and disaster recovery abilities.

Get started now. You don't have to take an all or nothing approach to cloud computing. Leveraging cloud services are an easy first step to moving to the cloud. While it may take time to prepare to move business-critical applications, you can start immediately with simpler applications and services.