Cloud costs not discouraging adoption but fear still abound, execs suggest

Pricing isn't holding cloud adoption back anymore, but fears over data protection are still very prevalent, experts say.
Written by Rachel King, Contributor

SAN FRANCISCO---Cloud adoption might have finally found its sweet spot, but fears over data protection are still holding some companies back from taking the plunge.

That was the sentiment expressed during a panel discussion on Thursday morning among several executives at some of the emerging leaders in the rapidly growing cloud services market.

Varun Badhwar, vice president of product strategy at CipherCloud, posited that there has been a fundamental shift in technology adoption over the last three years, notably after companies became more cost-conscious in the wake of the economic downturn in 2008.

"It’s a bit of a tug-of-war,” observed Badhwar, speculating that the pricing of cloud adoption is ready, but security and IT response are still “behind the curve.”

From the customer perspective, Badhwar theorized, employees are looking for "enablement technologies” that are simpler and more productive — whether security agrees with them or not.

At the same time, he continued, the "number one issue” for IT departments is the perceived loss of control, fearing that when data is placed in the cloud, there is a loss of visibility and protection.

"The biggest revolution that cloud brings is a business model that puts the software vendor in the same seat as the customer,” said Brad Peters, CEO and co-founder of on-demand analytics provider Birst.

Okta chief security officer David Baker concurred, stipulating that it’s really all about education at this point.

Some of those lessons have likely already seeped in.

Jaspreet Singh, CEO and co-founder of endpoint backup service Druva, acknowledged that more processing and education is needed. Still, he suggested that we’re already in the midst of a “second wave” for the cloud, with many businesses taking the initiative to alter their compliance policies and requirements to accommodate cloud frameworks.

Several years ago, Peters recalled that larger organizations weren’t sure what they should ask when looking at cloud-based services. The standards bodies, Peters asserted, have evolved significantly so there are now consistent — albeit not perfect — industry standards to demonstrate improvements around data protection and security.

"People know how to ask the questions now. They know what to look for,” Peters remarked, suspecting that “the fear is largely gone at this point.”

Baker admitted that there are always going to be concerns about security. Yet businesses now have the opportunity to go out and find the necessary solution to fit their needs, as Baker emphasized specialized solutions are often useful in providing assurances.

Badhwar took a practical approach, bluntly reminding that "ultimately it’s all about shared responsibility,” arguing that no single cloud provider is going to be able to provide 100 percent assurances and responsibility for data protection forever.

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