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Countering Objections to Cloud Computing

By Charlene O'Hanlon
November 02, 2010 - Article

Cloud computing is unquestionably the buzz term of the decade, encompassing everything from software as a service to virtual infrastructures and beyond. In the SMB space in particular, cloud computing is gaining traction as a viable and affordable alternative to building out networks and adding physical boxes — be they servers or appliances — on premises.

But despite cloud computing’s perceived popularity as a technology for all-sized companies, adoption of the technology in the enterprise space has lagged. That does seem to be changing, however: A survey conducted earlier this year by independent research firm LoudHouse on behalf of e-mail vendor Mimecast shows that cloud adoption rates among U.S. businesses hover at about 56 percent, up from 36 percent a year before.

“Within the last 12 to 18 months the promises of cloud computing have started to be delivered and more companies are seeing it as a viable alternative to consume infrastructure," said Aaron Hollobaugh, director of marking and communications at hosting provider

Still, according to the Mimecast survey, about half of companies are not using cloud computing, and the reasons vary from lingering security fears to the IT department not wanting to give up control of its data. But as Amy DeCarlo, principal analyst at Current Analysis notes, such fears can go with the territory with new technologies.

“It’s still really early in the adoption curve," she said. “There are things that are happening inside the corporate walls in terms of virtualization, but for the most part [cloud computing] is pretty new. So naturally there is a level of concern and skepticism."

Indeed, the fresh face of the technology may be off-putting to a number of companies that like their technology broken in and proven before they adopt it, DeCarlo said.

“The newness itself is a barrier to some companies," she said. “IT departments are saying, ‘I want to wait and see proof that there is no issue with this technology.’ And the proof is time. Nobody wants to be the one to say, ‘Let’s move x to the cloud,’ and then have it fail."

Youth is but one excuse popular with the enterprise crowd in shying away from cloud computing, giving solution providers a run for their money in trying to sell the technology. However, armed with the right information, solution providers can be successful in selling cloud technologies into the enterprise.

Objection: Data in the cloud is vulnerable to hacker attacks and other security issues.

Answer: Security of data in the cloud is equal to security of data on premises, provided the infrastructure in which the data is stored is secured. “Any type of security appliance or application in a dedicated environment can also be provided in a cloud environment," Hollobaugh said. “And because of strides in technology around hypervisors, concerns about cloud security aren’t any more valid than concerns about any other security."

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