More businesses are using the cloud for SaaS (software as a service) than any other type of IT offering that can be run in this type of environment, according to a new study, conducted by TechTarget.
A growing number of cloud services have emerged over the past few years to help diversify the market, but the 400 IT decision makers who were surveyed made it clear that SaaS remains the top priority for 2013.
Fifty five percent of those questioned picked SaaS above all of the other variants on cloud services, which meant that the next most popular was IaaS (infrastructure as a service), with 34% of the vote.
More recent editions, including DaaS (datacentre as a service) and CaaS (collaboration as a service), could account for only 12% and 11% of the vote, respectively.
The survey also revealed that many IT managers still have concerns over security levels offered by the cloud, since only 16% said they would be investing in cloud-based security as a service this year.
Thirty percent of those representing UK firms said that they would be spending more on the cloud in 2013 than they did in 2012. This means that the majority will either be keeping budgets flat or reducing their investments.
The authors believe that this indicates a prevailing attitude of caution towards cloud adoption that reigns in Britain. Many more respondents said that they would, instead, be spending IT budgets on hardware procurement and on-site software updates.
A third of those questioned said that IT expansion in general would continue this year because of the pressing need to support wider growth within their businesses.
A quarter of respondents said that they would be looking to automate more processes to improve efficiency and just 14% said that they would be relying on static budgets, while still being expected to deliver the same levels of service in 2013.
Seventy one percent said that they would be concentrating on improving and streamlining in-house hardware and systems this year, which might limit cloud growth in certain sectors.
On the plus side, the businesses that are adopting the cloud generally choose to use a private or hybrid model, with only 13% deploying in a public cloud environment.
Another revelation of the study was that many IT managers are gearing up to encourage the BYOD culture, that is becoming prevalent in the wake of widespread smartphone use.
Forty nine percent of respondents said that they are in the process of planning for the best way to integrate BYOD with existing business IT systems, so that it creates a secure and cohesive environment for the use of personal portable devices.
Conversely, only a small proportion of those questioned confirmed that they would be addressing and integrating the use of third party services, for things like email and file transfer.
That means that companies are not entirely enamoured with the idea of legitimising the use of Gmail, Google Docs or Dropbox amongst employees, which does not bode well for mainstream public cloud platforms on the enterprise market.
Security and reliability were both listed as top concerns by those taking part in the study, so cloud providers clearly need to come up with a strategy that allows them to allay fears and prove their systems to be far more robust than they are perceived to be. If they succeed in this, then the UK’s cloud market can go nowhere but up.