Spiceworks have published the results of a new survey exploring IT professionals’ usage of cloud services, future investment plans, and perceptions of cloud storage, productivity, and computing providers.
The study, “Diving into Cloud Services” was conducted in January 2016 and included over 300 respondents from EMEA and North America, representing a variety of company sizes including small-to-medium-sized businesses as well as enterprises. It also explored how IT professionals are preparing to meet new data privacy requirements ahead of the European Commission’s General Data Protection Regulation.
It found that 94 percent of organisations in EMEA use at least one cloud service today, and 32 percent expect more than half of their IT services to be cloud-based in two to three years. Web hosting is the most commonly used cloud service with 76 percent of respondents using the service, followed by email hosting at 57 percent, and cloud storage and file sharing at 48 percent. Notably, usage of cloud storage and file sharing is 10 percentage points lower in EMEA than in North America. However, usage of infrastructure as a service (IaaS) is 11 percentage points higher in EMEA, which currently stands at 25 percent.
Impact of the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation
In terms of the biggest benefits and barriers of moving IT services to the cloud, 65 percent of IT professionals in EMEA cited the lack of special hardware and software to maintain as the biggest benefit and 57 percent cited bandwidth requirements as the biggest barrier. However, compared to IT professionals in North America, the results show IT professionals in EMEA face much bigger barriers when it comes to the location where data is stored. In fact, when evaluating responses from IT professionals in Europe, the results show nearly 40 percent must store data in a specific EU country. Twenty-four percent can store data in any EU member state, but only 29 percent can store data anywhere worldwide.
Additionally, as a result of the EU’s October ruling stating the Safe Harbour agreement is invalid, 22 percent of IT professionals surveyed in Europe are less inclined to use cloud services. Forty-three percent are more prone to question where their data is stored before adopting a cloud service, but only 10 percent are planning to change their internal data management policies as a result of the ruling.
Further, ahead of the European Commission’s new General Data Protection Regulation coming into effect, only 11 percent of IT professionals in Europe have started investing in order to meet the new data privacy requirements. Interestingly, 28 percent of IT professionals surveyed in Europe haven’t given the pending regulation any thought, and 32 percent aren’t sure how it will impact their business.
“Although cloud adoption is clearly on the rise, the results show IT professionals continue to face several challenges, which vary greatly based on where they’re located,” said John Webb, Director of EMEA Marketing at Spiceworks. “IT professionals in Europe have to be more cautious of where their data is located and more aware of new regulations taking shape in order to avoid financial penalties or reputational damage.”
Where IT pros are investing and why
Despite the challenges organisations might face, the results show IT professionals are evaluating and planning to invest in more cloud services. Sixty-three percent of IT professionals in EMEA indicated cost is the most important factor to consider when evaluating cloud-based IT services, followed by reliability at 61 percent, data security controls at 47 percent, and customer support at 30 percent. When evaluating several cloud storage, productivity, and computing providers, IT professionals were also asked to reveal where they’re investing and which attributes they associate with each provider.
Cloud storage and file sharing:
● According to respondents, Microsoft OneDrive has been deployed by 31 percent of organisations in EMEA followed by Dropbox at 30 percent and Google Drive at 21 percent. OneDrive is also expected to see the most growth in the next 12 months with an additional 22 percent of IT professionals in EMEA considering it for use. When IT professionals in EMEA were asked to identify which cloud storage and file sharing providers their employees are using without IT approval, 72 percent said Dropbox, 60 percent said Google Drive, and 47 percent said OneDrive.
● When IT professionals in North America and EMEA were asked to detail how they perceive cloud providers, Google Drive was most frequently associated with the top two purchase drivers (cost-effectiveness and reliability), but Microsoft OneDrive and Dropbox followed closely behind. When it comes to security, OneDrive and Google Drive tied for the lead. Notably, a significant number of IT professionals didn’t strongly associate any brand with quality customer support.
Cloud computing, infrastructure as a service:
● In the public cloud IaaS category, IT professionals surveyed in EMEA indicated that Microsoft Azure is the most commonly used at 15 percent, followed closely by Amazon Web Services at 12 percent. Comparatively, five percent of organisations in EMEA are currently using Rackspace as their IaaS provider and two percent are using Google Compute Engine. Azure is also expected to see the most growth in the next 12 months with an additional 24 percent of IT professionals in EMEA considering it for use.
● While the other cloud categories show clear market dominators across the top three purchase drivers (cost-effectiveness, reliability, and security), IaaS has yet to see any single brand emerge as a top performer across brand attributes tested in the survey. Among all IT professionals surveyed, Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services were most frequently associated with the attributes and tied for first place in almost every instance, excluding security and trust where Microsoft Azure leads. However, the majority of respondents didn’t have strong brand associations with any of the providers.
Cloud-based productivity suites:
● When evaluating cloud-based productivity suites, 37 percent of organisations in EMEA are using Microsoft Office Online as part of Office 365, 14 percent are using Google Apps for Work, and 5 percent are using Apple iWork. Office Online is expected to see the highest growth in the next 12 months with an additional 24 percent of IT professionals in EMEA considering it for use.
● Although IT professionals most frequently associated Office Online with being cost-effective, followed closely by Google Apps, one in three IT professionals surveyed didn’t associate any provider with this critical attribute. Office Online continues to lead across all other brand attributes, including reliability and security, but similar to cloud storage and file sharing, the majority of respondents didn’t strongly associate quality customer support with any provider.