UK businesses prefer hybrid IT
An influential study shows many businesses will be using a mix of cloud services and on-premises IT for the foreseeable future.
The study which was commissioned by the Cloud Industry Forum, reflects the experience of many South East computer consultants, including CNC headquartered near Worthing, West Sussex.
Such consultants generally find that cloud solutions are being adopted for a few specific uses while on-premises IT is preferred for many essential activities.
Wary of cloud services
There are a number of reasons companies are wary of cloud services, including the constraints of legacy technology, perceptions about data protection, poor internet connectivity in some areas and, in some sectors, regulatory restrictions.
The study’s sample of 250 organisations of various sizes revealed that 78 per cent of respondents use cloud services for at least one application.
However, when they were asked which cloud-based services had been adopted in the past 12 months, email services and video conferencing registered the highest percentage from all respondents at just 16 per cent.
As for applications businesses prefer to keep on their premises, accounting and finance (54 per cent), active directory/user credentials (48 per cent) and data back-up/disaster recovery (43 per cent). These were some of the core activities many organisations remain reluctant to send to the cloud.
While a mix of cloud and on-premises IT services is generally preferred, the type of hybrid arrangement will vary from one company to another so it’s best to seek advice from an experienced IT consultant before making any firm decisions.
For some organisations with around 50 employees whom are all based in one location, keeping IT services on their premises makes complete sense.
By contrast, a company with a much more mobile workforce of a similar size may choose more cloud services to enable them to do their jobs more efficiently.
Office 365 new plans
Office 365 is one solution that makes it easier for many organisations to adopt a hybrid IT structure in order that emails, storage, calendaring, file sharing, IM, online conferencing and many other familiar tools can be accessed from the cloud.
Some of the latest Office 365 improvements are designed to appeal to small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs).
For example, there’s now greater choice so that SMBs can combine any Office 365 Business & Enterprise plan to meet the exact needs of specific users. The “getting started” experience has also been improved and navigation in the Office 365 admin centre has been made easier.
Such enhancements should appeal to a lot of businesses who haven’t yet adopted Office 365.
However, many IT consultants are advising clients to deploy an on-premises version in tandem with the cloud-based Office 365 because available bandwidth is not always sufficient for more complex tasks to be carried out from the cloud.