UK CIOs wary of cloud hype
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Sungard AS Press Release

UK CIOs wary of cloud hype 

Key findings:
  • 86% believe the cloud has been over-hyped
  • Security and resilience, cost-cutting and moving to new platforms remain CIOs’ biggest career challenges
  • 74% agree that the move to the cloud is no different from past major IT transitions

London, UK – 25 May 2011: Research sponsored by Sungard Availability Services, the pioneer and leading provider of information availability, cloud Infrastructure as a Service and business continuity services, shows an overwhelming proportion (86%) of CIOs believe the cloud has been over-hyped. The research, conducted by Vanson Bourne among 250 UK CIOs, also reveals that, despite the cloud’s obvious benefits, CIOs’ top challenges remain unchanged since its emergence.

CIOs were asked about their biggest challenges throughout their technology careers and the challenges they face as they move to the cloud. The top three answers to both questions were exactly the same – keeping data secure and resilient, cost-cutting while maintaining or increasing service levels, and the logistics of moving IT to new platforms. Seventy four per cent agreed that the move to cloud is no different from past major IT transitions in which they were involved.

The sentiment was just as evident when CIOs outlined what they look for in a cloud provider. Again, the primary attributes – reliability, security, reputation and lower costs – are exactly the same as the CIOs claim to have always sought when selecting an IT supplier.

“The research clearly shows that while the IT landscape may have changed, CIOs’ concerns have not,” commented Keith Tilley, managing director UK and executive vice president Europe for Sungard Availability Services. “Businesses are looking to exploit the cloud’s potential, but they’re not willing to give up the security or resilience of their data. And as data continues to grow at an alarming rate, the pressure on CIOs to ensure it’s always available to the organisation will only increase, regardless of the platform on which businesses’ data is delivered or stored.”

The research also sends a clear message to IT vendors that they must do better in convincing CIOs of their ability to support customers in their move to the cloud. According to the findings, CIOs are calling for cloud providers to demonstrate greater clarity and visibility in their capabilities in the areas of data protection (71%), data security (66%) and pricing (45%).

“There has certainly been a lot of hype around ‘cloud’, and in particular around Infrastructure as a Service. We are seeing a lot of re-badging of traditional services such as application hosting,” commented Georgina O’Toole, Research Director at TechMarketView. “In addition, the term ‘cloud’ means different things to different people. For some it means moving IT assets ‘off premise’, for others it is a reference to new cloud technologies, while for others it is a reflection of the commercial model underpinning the service delivery. Regardless, as this research confirms, CIOs challenges remain unchanged. And, as for any investment, they need to ensure they make the right decision for their particular business. 

“One thing’s for sure, the transition to an ‘as a service’ model will be complex, involving different elements of the ICT moving to the cloud at different rates, and leaving businesses to cope with managing data within a hybrid estate for many years.”

“Data is of absolutely no use if it’s unavailable when the business needs it,” commented Stuart Whittle, CIO, at Weightmans, the national firm of solicitors. “Where we have moved elements of our infrastructure into the cloud, it’s imperative that we’re not making any sacrifices in order to enjoy the cloud’s benefits. This means that security and resilience cannot be an afterthought – it has to be ingrained into the very fabric of the solution.”

Sungard AS Keith Tilley concluded: “As we’ve kept organisations running through the evolution of technology for over thirty years, we’ve had to continually adopt new technologies into our underlying infrastructure in order to allow our customers to exploit their potential. But keeping data secure and available has remained constant. Businesses exploring the cloud have to ask vendors tough questions, and be sure that when they put their data in the cloud, they can get it back.”

SunGard Availability Services