Although more companies are embracing the enterprise cloud, lingering security concerns prevent companies from shifting everything away from on-premises options.

According to a survey conducted in July by global IT market research firm Vanson Bourne, companies have yet to get past issues related to data migration and security. Of the 100 IT managers polled, 78 percent listed security as their main barrier to further cloud adoption. This fear was especially present among those at large firms, with 82 percent of survey respondents at companies with 3,000 employees or more noting security challenges.

Despite these fears, the majority of companies understand the benefits provided by enterprise-class cloud computing and have begun to more thoroughly embrace the technology. Vanson Bourne found that more than half of all businesses represented in the survey host web content control and data stores in the cloud. In addition, a significant number of enterprises also leverage remotely hosted options for customer resource management, human resources technologies and email. Furthermore, while organizations in all industries utilize cloud computing, adoption rates are especially high among financial services firms and retailers.

"It is unsurprising to see that 99 [percent] of the respondents think that there are benefits to moving IT services into the cloud," the report said. "It is also to be expected that cost reduction is seen as the biggest benefit as businesses look to become more cost effective during difficult and uncertain economic times. Although only 3 [percent] saw the ability to automate security as a benefit there is a real potential to utilise the cloud for security purposes. Due to the added flexibility that the cloud allows it is the perfect technology to support existing security technologies monitor for incoming attacks or security breaches."

Why lingering cloud security concerns remain
Although cloud computing as a technology long since shed its reputation as an inherently insecure technology among those in the know, legacy concerns remain. Perhaps one reason why this is still the case is because some firms still cannot differentiate between enterprise-class cloud computing and consumer-centric options.

For example, a March report from Gartner found that many customers of commercial cloud-hosted services found fault with the amount of security available, blaming software-as-a-service in particular. What this helps to show is that many people still conflate enterprise cloud configurations like dedicated IaaS cloud solutions with SaaS.

Unlike consumer-level offerings, enterprise-class cloud computing utilizes a dedicated server hosting arrangement, meaning that one company's mission-critical data and applications comes nowhere close to the IT resources remotely hosted for another firm. Thanks to this separated setup, dedicated IaaS cloud service providers can provide a more secure offering than can public cloud service providers. When used in conjunction with remotely hosted firewalls and best-in-class encryption keys, enterprise-class cloud computing can be safe enough for all organizations, including healthcare providers and financial services firms governed by strict compliance requirements.

If more companies learn about dedicated hosting, then it is likely the number of organizations listing security as a primary cloud computing concern will drop even further.

"The key to achieving successful migration is understanding the different types of cloud services available and selecting the right model for the individual company's needs and services," the Vanson Bourne report said.