Cloud Computing Survey: IT Leaders See Big Promise, Have Big Security Questions

Cloud computing has become the most over-hyped tech buzzword this year, but CIO's new survey of IT leaders shows that despite security concerns, enterprises see real promise for flexibility and savings from the cloud.

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Cloud Computing: No Passing Fad

As Gartner analyst David Cearley recently commented to attendees at Gartner's Symposium ITxpo, "You can't swing a dead cat without hitting somebody that's talking about cloud computing these days." The hype level has been extreme, and IT pros know it. Many of you say current offerings are still not quite baked or appealing enough to roll out in production environments.

The Cloud: Your View

Cloud computing will cause a radical shift in information technology driving the next wave of innovation. 58%
Cloud computing is an evolving concept that will take years to mature. 54%
Current on-demand offerings are not appropriate for my business. 36%
Cloud computing is a passing fad. 18%

SOURCE: CIO Research

But you have not written off cloud computing. More than half of you believe cloud computing will radically change the way enterprise IT looks in a few years.

And research firm IDC (a sister company to CXO Media) believes the current U.S. economic woes will only drive more enterprises to consider and adopt cloud offerings. IDC predicts that spending on IT cloud services will hit $42 billion by 2012. "The cloud model offers a much cheaper way for businesses to acquire and use IT—in an economic downturn, the appeal of that cost advantage will be greatly magnified," noted Frank Gens, senior VP and chief analyst at IDC.

Still, some of you refuse to even think of cloud computing as a technology, per se. "We view it as another sourcing option," wrote one respondent to our survey.

Is Cloud Computing On Your Organization's Tech Roadmap?

Yes, currently using or implementing 30%
No, not on our technology roadmap 29%
Yes, on the radar or actively researching 17%
Yes, plan to use within one year 10%
Yes, plan to use within one to three years 5%
Not sure 5%
Yes, plan to use within three to five years 2%

SOURCE: CIO Research

When You'll Jump Into the Cloud

A big question about cloud computing: When will IT departments stop talking about it and start actually using it? According to our survey results, IT's comfort with using cloud options in the near term is split. Almost half of you (47 percent) say you're either currently using or implementing or actively researching cloud options.

But a notable 29 percent say you have not placed cloud computing on your technology roadmap yet.

And breaking down these responses by those people who say they head IT in their company reveals more skepticism among IT chiefs than IT staffers: 38 percent of respondents calling themselves IT heads say cloud computing is not on their technology roadmap.

Consider this survey respondent's verbatim comment as to why cloud is not on his roadmap: "We're waiting for reality to strike, vendor solutions/pricing to mature and the hype to be replaced by honest to goodness experience." The lack of case studies and customer references is a real stumbling block now, according to our survey respondents.

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