Cost, data and security questions to take a different shape in 2016...
While businesses are showing interest in embracing the cloud model, any wholesale enterprise adoption of cloud computing remains some way in the future.
For CIOs, particularly those in the public sector and heavily regulated industries such as banking, issues around data security have held back cloud uptake due to concerns that providers storing data overseas could see their customers running afoul of data protection legislation.
By the end of 2016 these fears will have been laid to rest, with more than half of Global 1000 companies storing sensitive customer data in the public cloud, according to research published today by analyst house Gartner.
The first seeds of this trend are already being sown – with economic uncertainty and the threat of a double-dip recession continuing to put the pressure on IT chiefs to do more with less, the potential to lower infrastructure costs and streamline operations that the cloud affords is becoming harder to resist. As such, 20 per cent of organisations have already begun to selectively store their customer-sensitive data in a hybrid architecture that combines their on-premises setup with a private or public cloud offering, Gartner said.
Security concerns of a different stripe will also be overcome in the next five years: by 2016, 40 per cent of enterprises will make proof of independent security testing a condition for using any type of cloud service, the analyst predicts.
Rather than hiring an independent third party themselves to test the security of their cloud providers, businesses will increasing grow to accept the vendors' own proof of security - such as certifications verified by a trusted third party.
While CIOs may be able to save expenditure on security testing not all cloud-associated costs are on their way down: by 2015, the prices for 80 per cent of cloud services will include a global energy surcharge, Gartner said.
While some cloud and datacentre operators are already including energy surcharges in their price, the number is set to grow rapidly as competitors follow suit.
Consequently, Gartner is advising CIOs to consider energy costs as a "variable element in future cloud service contracts".