Narrowing down the volume of forecasts, predictions and trends into five stats about cloud usage in 2018 is quite difficult, as most lists try to incorporate something to please everybody. Here we focus on just five meaningful stats that demonstrate the evolving landscape of the cloud.
1. Fewer Companies Are Employing Hybrid Cloud Strategies
According to RightScale’s “State of the Cloud Report 2018”, the percentage of companies employing hybrid cloud strategies fell from 58% in January 2017 to 51% in January 2018. Although the report noted a slight increase in companies adopting multicloud strategies (multiple private clouds or multiple public clouds), the first of our five stats about cloud usage in 2018 appears to confound forecasters who predicted a strong shift to hybrid environments last year.
There could be various explanations for this apparent contradiction. RightScale’s annual survey engages fewer than one thousand companies – almost half of whom have fewer than one thousand employees – implying the report may not be entirely representative of the “State of the Cloud”. It may also be the case the companies surveyed did not meet the criteria for when to use a hybrid strategy. Nonetheless, it is an interesting statistic and one to watch as 2018 progresses.
2. Containerization Grows, but Not as Fast as Serverless Computing
Back in 2017, predictions rattled around concerning the projected growth of containerization and serverless computing (Function-as-a-Service/FaaS). Having been the buzzword for several years, most observers forecast that containerization would continue its impressive growth but that companies would adopt serverless computing at a slower rate. However, the second of our five stats about cloud usage in 2018 shows the reverse is true.
According to Cloudability’s “State of the Cloud Report 2018” – based on a slightly more comprehensive survey than that conducted by RightScale – container adoption grew 246% among AWS users in 2017 Q4, while the adoption of serverless computing increased by 667% during the same period. It is important to note the relative starting position of each service before drawing too many conclusion about which to use, but it is another statistic to watch as 2018 progresses.
3. Concerns about Employees Not Following Cloud Security Policies
Back in 2015, Gartner’s “Top Strategic Positions for 2016 and Beyond” (PDF) predicted 95% of cloud security failures would be the company´s fault. The prediction was supported by one of Gartner’s Security Brokers producing a report in which it was claimed the broker had identified 21,825 documents shared on public clouds with file names such as “budget”, “salary” and “confidential”. How Gartner equated that to 95%, we are not quite sure. Nonetheless … …
In 2018, the Oracle and KMPG “Cloud Threat Report 2018” found that, although 97% of the 450 IT professionals surveyed had implemented cloud security policies, 82% of those had concerns about employees following the policies. In order to address this challenge, 84% of companies were implementing policy-driven automationto help defend their cloud environments, while 40% of companies were also engaging cloud security architects to defend against sophisticated attackers.
4. The Relationship between IT and LOB is Getting Closer
Also in 2015, a Harvard Business Review produced on behalf of Oracle (PDF) found that fewer than 40% of IT departments collaborated with Line of Business departments when planning cloud implementations. The relationship between IT and LOB has improved substantially since; with IDG’s “State of the CIO 2018” report showing collaboration between the two departments has increased to 71% – primarily due to efforts by CIOs.
Executive leaders are also pushing innovation, technology and digital transformation up the agenda according to the CIO 100 Report 2018, and now more than 50% of CIOs have a direct reporting line to their organization’s most senior personnel. Another development that has helped close the relationship between IT and LOB is the creation of “Engagement Leader” positions – typically filled by consultants with strong analytical and communication skills that help resolve issues between departments.
5. Cloud Costs Remain the #1 Pain Point
It doesn’t take an expert analyst to correctly forecast that spending in the cloud will increase in 2018, despite cloud costs being the #1 pain point for companies surveyed by 451Research. Of the 534 companies surveyed, more than half (53.2%) said the cost of operating in the cloud was of concern to them, while the next closest concern – security issues – kept fewer than half of IT leaders awake at night. The full list of pain point options and their relative concern ranking is:
- Cloud Costs – 53.2%
- Security Issues – 46.6%
- Responding to Business Requirements – 43.3%
- Managing Legacy Infrastructure – 29.2%
- Insufficient Staff – 27.2%
- New Applications and Projects – 26.0%
- Skills Shortage – 24.0%
- Vendor Management – 9.7%
- Other – 2.6%