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Enterprises, SMBs utilizing cloud storage systems for more

More businesses are demonstrating a higher level of trust in cloud storage, and using if for more business purposes.

While in the early adoption phase, cloud storage systems were regarded as riskier for business than today, but numerous reports suggest that as this technology reached the maturity stage, enterprises discovered many more use cases for the cloud. Network World contributor Ellen Messmer noted that while there is still much ground to be covered in terms of developing trust, more organizations including app developers and banks are beginning to try the cloud on for size.

Messmer cited Gartner data that projects the cloud computing market will increase 18.5 percent in 2013 to $131 billion. It is most often used for business process-as-a-service, which makes up 28 percent of cloud use. However, only 2.8 percent of cloud use is for tasks like management, security and automation. While there is still some trepidation, Messmer emphasized that companies that are considered more traditional or conservative are now wading into the waters of cloud storage. In many cases, these companies are demonstrating a higher level of confidence in the cloud, as they leverage it for increasingly complex processes and achieve enhanced efficiency when compared to carrying out the same tasks within internal data centers.

Security and the cloud
As one of the most often cited barriers to cloud adoption is security, Messmer's observation that more companies are turning to outside vendors for protecting assets proves especially interesting. She shared the example of Atlanta-based PGi, a large provider of Web-based collaboration services for mobile and desktop. According to Sean O'Brien, executive vice president for strategy and communications at PGi, the company regularly utilizes cloud computing storage for numerous services. So to handle security issues that might emerge in the cloud environment and for assistance protecting its collaboration service and internal network, PGi looked to an outside vendor.

Vulnerability is among top concerns for companies migrating to cloud storage for business. However, a new report from Dark Reading contributor Robert Lemos highlighted how the cloud can actually serve as a means for simplifying vulnerability management for many small and medium-sized businesses.

He cited multiple recent reports that support the idea that companies that focus on their security and make use of the cloud to provide services will also have a higher level of security and markedly more success. For example, a Microsoft study highlighted the misconceptions that still exist and are contributing to less adoption. The report found that while six out of 10 companies cited security concerns as a primary reason for not utilizing the cloud, 94 percent of SMBs that have adopted the cloud indicate it improved their security.

Eliminating cloud risks
Dispelling common security myths and concerns related to the cloud could result in more companies making using of cloud storage solutions in the near future. E-Commerce Times contributor Dana Gardner recently shared excerpts from a recent interview with Adam Beavis, general manager of cloud services at Thomas Duryea in Melbourne, Australia. Beavis provided insight into how adopters of cloud infrastructure have reduced the risks associated with implementing cloud models. When asked how customers are facing risks in the cloud and how they know which ones are important, Beavis explained businesses are becoming more knowledgeable rather than entrusting concerns mainly to service providers.

"People are becoming more comfortable with the cloud concept as we see the cloud becoming more mainstream, but we're seeing two sides to the risks," Beavis said. "One is the technical risks, how the applications actually run in the cloud. What we're also seeing – more at a business level – are concerns like privacy, security and maintaining service levels. We're seeing that pop up more and more, where the technical validation of the solution gets signed off from the technical team, but then the concerns begin to move up to board level."