Cloud adoption delayed by unreliable network infrastructure

Exponential-e announced research confirming that poor network infrastructure is costing British businesses time and money by disrupting critical cloud services, or slowing their adoption.

The research, which questioned IT managers and directors across the UK, revealed that businesses clearly recognise the benefits cloud services can have on the bottom line. Of the 79% of businesses which currently use cloud services, 84% see them as key to increasing productivity, 88% feel they open up an increased range of services and 83% think cloud is key to reducing the total cost of ownership (TCO) for data centres.

What’s stopping cloud adoption?

Yet, despite this positive outlook for cloud adoption, the research also found significant security concerns over adopting cloud services in over half (56%) of UK businesses, particularly when delivered across public networks. A further fifth (20%) of respondents highlighted that being unable to secure a strict enough service level agreement (SLA) from a cloud service provider was a major reason for not adopting more cloud services. Additionally, a lack of in-house skills to support cloud services and inadequate network connections were also seen as core deterrents, with 17% and 19% citing these respectively.

The dangers of downtime

Unfortunately, the fears of many UK businesses over becoming more dependent on public network access to the cloud appear to be well founded.

23% of organisations questioned had experienced a significant number of unplanned connectivity outages in the last year. These companies had experienced around 12 hours of network downtime over the past year, with over a quarter (27%) saying that they had experienced more than 12 hours of outage. A mere 16% of businesses had seen no unplanned outages in the last year.

The impact of downtime was also extremely severe: 58% of unplanned connectivity outages affected business workflow, with internal operations (72%), employee productivity (68%) and client services (47%) most badly affected, suggesting that repercussions from the failures were felt across multiple business areas.

The race to upgrade

Over half of UK businesses (53%) are still partially or completely reliant on a public link to the cloud. Nevertheless, the upgrade priorities for businesses seems clear, with 86% of organisations agreeing that a high-speed, optimised network link to the cloud would improve reliability. Over half of those questioned (55%) are already taking action to adjust their network speeds, with 36% improving their existing network’s data optimisation, and 29% moving to a high-speed network.

Lee Wade, CEO at Exponential-e, comments: “I think the message from our findings is clear: moving to cloud services can save companies time and money, but if your network layer is not sufficiently robust, the result is more likely to be greater downtime and revenue leakage. With UK businesses irrevocably increasing their dependence on cloud services, they cannot afford to be offline for one second. Moments of downtime can literally translate into thousands of pounds in lost revenue and, for companies in spheres like financial services, downtime can also result in regulatory infringement, fines and other penalties.”

“The stakes are appropriately sky-high as businesses consider a move to the cloud,” concludes Lee Wade. “Huge potential benefits await those who manage the move correctly, while the penalties can be extremely painful for those who do not take the time to ensure the solution they deploy is robust, reliable and resilient. I am personally surprised by the number of businesses who still consider access across public networks to be ‘good enough’, even though it renders them susceptible to data security breaches ,spikes in demand, and all manner of vagaries the public Internet leaves you open to. This emphasises the importance of moving critical business services to the private cloud, which remain unaffected by domestic broadband consumption, and choosing a technology partner that can provide trusted counsel, an end-to-end SLA and a resilient, carrier-grade network.”

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