Telstra Purple finds less than half of Aussie businesses are equipped for cloud migration

Australian executives say the lack of skills and concerns around security are the main reasons why they remain hesitant.

Even though cloud adoption ramped up, particularly during the pandemic, fewer than half of all Australian firms feel "well prepared" to migrate their most critical workloads to the cloud, according to new insight from Telstra Purple.

The State of Cloud Adoption 2021 report indicated that only 41% of the 200 IT and business executives who were surveyed by Omida were equipped to migrate their remaining critical applications from data centres to the cloud, with the majority pointing out they remained hesitant because they perceived the process to be complex, costly, and risky.

"Only 41% of organisations really feel they have the skills and capabilities to manage both not only the move to the cloud but also the ongoing management of the cloud," Telstra Purple adaptive infrastructure business development head Ben Kingston explained to ZDNet.

"It does differ a little in terms of small enterprises versus large enterprise. Effectively larger enterprises are better prepared in terms of that ongoing monitoring and the piece around migration. But the one clear consistent piece was the security element across the board."

Kingston pointed out the study found nearly 80% of local organisations had experienced some form of cloud-triggered security incident in the last 12 months and, because of this, experience cloud security remained a top constraint as to why there were not more Australian businesses migrating to the cloud.

To address these security concerns, 78% of executives said they had plans to increase their cloud cybersecurity spend, with more than 50% saying they will increase their cybersecurity spend by 6% or more this year, the survey said.

"There are a number of concerns for organisations moving to public cloud … [but] it comes back down to skills. For small to medium organisations that were more around compliance, lack of internal skills, and the complexity of ongoing management. Whereas large enterprises it was concerns around outages, network preparedness for cloud, and things like data sovereignty. Across the board though, it was all about internal skills and the security conversation," Kingston added.

For those organisations that have yet to shift their critical workloads into the public cloud, the report said 60-80% of local companies still hosted those applications in hybrid environments. From Kingston's point of view, the decision to maintain a hybrid environment should be based on an individual basis.

"It's really horses for courses. It depends on your application real estate, architecture, and I think that's the assessment that most organisations are making," he said.

"We do see some organisations that have seen the benefit of going all in on public cloud. However, many, many organisations for a long time will continue to leverage hybrid cloud … we're also seeing organisations take advantage of new commercial model consumption-based pricing on private and hybrid cloud architectures."

At the same time, 56% of enterprise executives said they were evaluating their decision to move to the cloud-based on financial and non-financial return on investments, including lower data centre spend, higher availability, reducing technology staff costs, improving staff productivity, and leveraging data and AI for business insight.

"Whilst we have seen the benefit of cloud, organisations are taking stock and they want to see more than just ... ROI when it comes to cloud ... it really comes down to other factors now, so it's the user experience, both for the employee and also organisation's stakeholders and customers that need to be taken into account," Kingston said.

"The third part of the puzzle is that innovation piece. I think organisations have had a taste of that with some cloud adoption, and they're seeing the value of digitalisation and cloud being the foundation of that, as well as those benefits of time to market and business agility. That's all being taken into account now."

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