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Consumer cloud is the ticket for cost conscious CIOs: report

Consumer cloud is the ticket for cost conscious CIOs: report

Enterprise level cloud services are too expensive, say some Australian CIOs

Sixty-one per cent out of 50 Australian CIOs surveyed by BT have opted for consumer cloud services because enterprise cloud apps and services are too expensive.

The survey was conducted by Vanson Bourne on behalf of the vendor in July 2014 with 640 CIOs in 11 countries including Australia, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, the United States, Spain, Brazil, the Middle East, Hong Kong, Singapore and South Africa. The CIOs were from organisations with 1,000 or more employees in a range of sectors including finance, retail and government.

Forty-eight per cent of Australian respondents said that mass market public cloud apps and services such as Dropbox were as effective as enterprise ones. Scale, speed, price and ease of use were listed as some of the reasons why they opted for mass market cloud services.

“There are very few cloud services that are as easy to use, as inexpensive or have the scale of Amazon Web Services [AWS] or Google,” said Phil Rodrigues, BT global services Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa directory of security architecture.

“Once application developers or business users see the reliability and speed of these services it is hard for them to return to traditional internal systems. Now it is possible for people to directly procure external hosting, flexible storage, collaboration suites, or entire Web applications with a credit card and a browser.”

According to Rodrigues, enterprise cloud service providers should focus on more flexible service level agreements (SLAs).

“Consumer cloud services don’t have the time to negotiate separate terms or separate SLAs for each of their users. This is something the enterprise market has experience with and should focus on, it’s the service part of being a service provider,” he said.

However, concerns about hosting data in the cloud still remain. Data security in the cloud was the top concern for 84 per cent of the 50 Australian CIOs surveyed.

Forty per cent admitted that they were 'very or extremely anxious' about the security implications while 53 per cent said they had experienced a data breach incident where the cloud service provider was at fault.

“Any cloud service that is protected by only a single username and password is probably not sufficient for corporate use,” said Rodrigues.

“When that username is likely to be an email address, the password never changes, and there is a password reset mechanism that asks for basic personal information.”

The right way to authenticate into these environments is with certificates or tokens, but these introduce additional complexity for users and additional administrative overheads for the organisation, he said.

Commenting on the results, BT Security president Mark Hughes said the survey has exposed an interesting paradox. “IT decision makers are concerned about the security implications of using public cloud services but their buying decisions seem to be driven by short term cost perceptions.

“I would suggest that organisations undertake a thorough risk analysis before opting for mass market cloud services. Enterprise cloud apps and services are designed to help businesses realise possibilities in the cloud while decreasing risk.”

Follow Hamish Barwick on Twitter: @HamishBarwick

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