The shift to the cloud is happening at a dizzying pace. Business from small to large, government organizations and nonprofits are realizing the financial benefits, the flexibility and the ease of use that cloud provides.
- A new study by Emergent Research shows that 78 percent of small businesses (50 or fewer employees) will be fully adapted to the cloud by 2020. In 2014, that number is just 37 percent.
- A survey by RightScale earlier this year showed that only 16 percent of major enterprises (1,000-plus employees) who responded were still in the “watch” state of cloud adoption, while the remaining 84 percent were either actively working on cloud projects or already using cloud.
- In the call center industry alone, more than 70 percent of those responding to the 2014 Evolve IP Survey said they’re planning to move to the cloud within 18 months. That’s 70 percent of the 77.5 percent who currently have on-premise systems – the overwhelming majority.
We all know why these businesses are making the switch, so for this blog we’re going to focus on those that haven’t. If the cloud is cheaper and more convenient, what’s the hold up? We’ve identified three of the biggest reasons companies either delay the move to the cloud or reject it entirely.
1. The cost of legacy systems
Some companies – particularly larger ones – find it hard to let go of their traditional on-premise systems. They don’t want to abandon a system in which they’ve invested tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars. Rather than making the switch, they prefer to update the system or replace hardware.
These companies are not always wrong to be cautious. Deciding whether an expensive legacy system has satisfied its ROI and/or outlived its usefulness can be complex. For most companies who are considering a switch the cloud, the tipping point comes when an expensive update is due or when the system is so old that compatible replacement hardware is hard to find.
However, the mentality that companies must wait for the tipping point is flawed. The cloud offers agility and tools that will improve the way your business runs, in addition to all the same features as those legacy systems. Cloud systems also reduce the strain on IT staffers, freeing them to think big picture. Failing to take advantage of business, workflow and technological improvements because you spent too much on a legacy system 10 years ago is shortsighted.
2. Fear of the unknown
Businesses tend to fall into patterns, and sometimes what’s familiar and comfortable seems more appealing than something new. Employees are used to the system interface, and it works OK for them. IT leaders who are strapped for time don’t want to take on additional projects. So why switch?
Moving to a cloud system does require employee training and a learning curve. It requires getting used to a new interface. But it’s not an unsurmountable task. Cloud interfaces are not harder to use than on-premise systems; they’re just different. The same learning curve has always applied to companies switching from one legacy system to another.
Once the learning period is over, most companies are more than happy with their decision. They find cloud systems more intuitive, more user friendly and more convenient. Customer service improves, as does internal employee communication, particularly with off-site employees.
3. Fears about security
Would you feel safer with your wallet in your own pocket or in the pocket of a trusted friend? Your own, most likely. Along the same lines, some companies simply feel safer storing their data in-house rather than somewhere else, even if the third-party vendor is established, reputable and trustworthy. In fact, security fears are often cited as the leading reason companies don’t move to the cloud.
Much has been written about cloud security, and it’s a complex issue that we can’t do justice to here. Bottom line: Complete security is never a guarantee, whether your data is stored in-house or in the cloud.
What’s important when you’re moving to the cloud is to understand how the vendor protects data. This can’t be emphasized enough. Is your data encrypted and/or fragmented? What policies and procedures are in place to make sure hackers or unauthorized employees don’t have access to data? In many cases, the cloud actually gets rid of a company’s worst security threats – but that involves choosing the right vendor.