The Buzz: Top 4 Reported Challenges in Enterprise Cloud Adoption

Enterprise cloud adoption is growing. 90% of federal CIOs, for example, report that their agency had moved to the cloud in at least some capacity. Yet challenges remain. 451 Research explains their survey results:

“Despite the increased cloud computing activity, 83% of respondents are facing significant roadblocks to deploying their cloud computing initiatives, a 9% increase since the end of 2012. IT roadblocks have declined to 15% while non-IT roadblocks have increased to 68% of the sample, mostly related to people, processes, politics and other organizational issues.”

We incorporated the results of the 451 Research survey plus three others that asked enterprises about the challenges they’re facing in cloud adoption. Here, we detail the top four.

The top 4 reported challenges in enterprise cloud adoption

1. Security & Compliance – Even before Edward Snowden released a trove of documents revealing the large-scale collection, analysis, and storage of personal data on U.S. citizens and foreigners, security was the single biggest factor that kept some enterprises, and some applications, away from the cloud. Today, that concern remains. In the CDW 2013 State of the Cloud Survey, 46% of respondents cited “security of proprietary data or applications” as a challenge.

Security challenges extend beyond data protection. According to the RightScale 2014 State of the Cloud Survey, compliance is a top challenge – cited by 30% of respondents at the “Cloud Beginner” stage. Compliance remains a challenge even as the organization’s cloud maturity increases; among “Cloud Focused” enterprises, 18% cited compliance as a top challenge.

For details on how to overcome security challenges, check out:


2. Complexity – In InformationWeek’s 2014 Private Cloud Survey, the only perceived cloud issues that affected more than a quarter of respondents revolved around cost and complexity. If cloud’s promise is reduced costs and simplified IT, the chance that it might do the opposite is a big fear. 43% of survey respondents said that increased operational cost and complexity was a main problem they envisioned with a private cloud. 34% cited increased troubleshooting difficulty, 32% cited inability to hire and maintain staff with the necessary skills, and 27% cited increased capital costs.

3. Compatibility with current application architecture – In InformationWeek’s survey, 56% of respondents cited integrating existing IT products as a main hurdle to overcome in launching private cloud. The results from CDW’s 2013 State of the Cloud Survey were similar: 25% of respondents cited “concerns with technical aspects of integrating cloud applications or infrastructure with legacy systems” as a significant challenge in cloud adoption.

4. Price – The ability to pay for only what you use is one of the chief attraction points of cloud. Yet fear about not realizing those pricing-related benefits is also one of the biggest barriers to cloud adoption. And it’s not unfounded. Obscure pricing frameworks can negate the pay-per-use benefit of the cloud. For example, some cloud providers publish low usage rates but charge hefty data ingress/egress fees.

For details on transparent pricing policies, check out the article: Enterprise Cloud Due Diligence: 5 Criteria for Selecting a Cloud Service Provider.

Remember, governance still matters

According to the RightScale 2014 State of the Cloud Survey, the majority of enterprises haven’t defined their cloud strategy in some very key areas. For example, 47% of respondents have not defined security policies for the cloud. 58% have not defined which applications should or should not be migrated.

In other words, cloud governance lags adoption. And that puts the enterprise at risk for falling over the barriers we’ve listed here. Remember this: migrating to the cloud isn’t an abdication of responsibility. It’s an outsourcing of many aspects of IT infrastructure, but you still have to govern it.

With proper governance, many of these challenges can be overcome with experience in the cloud. According to the RightScale 2014 State of Cloud Survey, for example, 31% of Cloud Beginners cite security as a significant challenge, while just 13% of Cloud Focused organizations do. “As organizations become more experienced in cloud security options and best practices, the less of a concern cloud security becomes.”