IEEE Identifies Continued Obstacles Toward the Global Adoption of Cloud Computing
As Large Enterprises Make Their Move into the Cloud, New Challenges Are Exposed
22 February 2012 – Members of IEEE, the world’s largest technical professional association, are working around the globe to deliver on the promise of cloud computing by helping enterprises of all sizes address the barriers that can potentially reduce the adoption rates of this game-changing technology.
The prospective benefits of cloud-based systems are widely discussed and hard to ignore: significant cost reductions in the operations and maintenance of the IT infrastructure; extreme scalability and accessibility; fewer concerns about overloading servers or lack of storage space; and rapid deployment. Conversely, challenges and perceived risks prevail, with lingering concerns about cloud security and privacy, performance unpredictability, and if the ultimate return on investment makes cloud adoption a fit for a given enterprise.
Some believe that 2012 could be a tipping point year for cloud adoption, particularly if large enterprises can serve as trailblazers in cloud adoption. According to IEEE CIO and Senior Member Dr. Alexander Pasik, once larger enterprises witness the success of their competitors and contemporaries, more companies will transition to the cloud.
“Cloud adoption can be perceived as a threat, and talk of change is often met with resistance,” said Dr. Pasik. “That is why it takes an informed IT team to communicate the significant impact that cloud computing can have on a business.”
“If you’re a sizeable enterprise and you’re not doing business in the cloud, you’re making a mistake,” he continued. “Businesses will soon realize that it’s not a question of ‘if’ they should move cloud, it’s a question of ‘when'.”
In fact, Dr. Pasik predicts that in eight to ten years, a majority of the world’s largest enterprises will be operating in the cloud.
Yet concern and increased pressure on CIOs to meet stricter compliance rules and regulations in a globalized business environment presents an evolving risk that must be mitigated.
According to Dr. Siani Pearson, an IEEE Senior Member and Senior Researcher at the Cloud and Security Lab at Hewlett-Packard Laboratories, as standardization becomes more solidified, compliance will become more complex.
“Providing cloud computing services means explaining the need to comply with local and global regulations and obtaining the necessary approvals when data is accessed from another jurisdiction. It is difficult to meet compliance requirements. Global legislation is complex and includes export restrictions, sector-specific restrictions and legislation at state and national levels. Legal advice is needed, and transborder data flow restrictions need to be taken into account. Collaboration is key in finding solutions to these complex issues. By working with internal counsel and customer-facing executives, as well as external academics and industrial partners, companies can find a broader range of interdisciplinary solutions to compliance problems.”
Security remains a major adoption concern as many service providers put the burden of cloud security on the customer, leading some to explore costly ideas like third party insurance.
“It’s a huge risk, as well as impractical, to insure billions of dollars of company data, especially if you’re a market leader in the space. Potential losses from losing major trading applications or logistical applications are enormous,” said Steve O’Donnell, IEEE Member and Chairman at Preventia Ltd., a security technology company in the UK. “Service providers should offer greater assurance to reduce the idea that insurance is even needed.”
To address this, some companies are now partnering with legal and privacy specialists. Dr. Pearson is examining regulatory frameworks and other technical solutions that could allow cloud subscribers to undergo a risk assessment prior to data migration, helping to make service providers accountable and provide transparency and assurance.
“Different types of businesses have different types of requirements, and cloud computing fits these requirements better than a traditional infrastructure,” said O’Donnell. “Cloud gives companies the flexibility to shape the story of their business, and the possibilities are endless.”
"IEEE members around the world are paving the way to global cloud adoption,” said Gordon Day, IEEE President and CEO. “Their work, both in the field and as part of IEEE, has made cloud computing more accessible to both large and small companies, creating beneficial outcomes for both customer and provider. Cloud is an industry game-changer, and the IEEE is leveraging its uniquely deep and broad technological resources and expertise accordingly through our Cloud Computing Initiative, the first broad-scope, forward-looking cloud computing initiative to be put forth by a global standards development organization.”