There is an extremely important distinction to be made between the public and enterprise cloud. This differentiation is easy to explain because it is apparent simply by comparing the names of the two cloud deployments. As its moniker suggests, the public cloud exists in the public sphere and, as a result, is far more vulnerable to malicious incursions. Lacking the individualized attention or personalized security structure to ensure information security, public cloud users place themselves at the mercy of their cloud service provider.

The enterprise cloud is the exact opposite. Sealed-off, rigidly guarded and highly individualized, it is equipped with the infrastructural security to keep any business' information well defended. These concerns about the cloud can be traced almost entirely to the public cloud, and it is clear that the inherent vulnerabilities of the public cloud are beginning to influence consumer perception.

A survey finds that security concerns abound in the cloud
A recent Unisys survey of more than 350 IT personnel spanning three continents found that security concerns are the primary factor impeding business development in the cloud. According to the poll, more than 70 percent of respondents said they had fears that a cloud migration would compromise the security of their enterprise.

"A lot of what slows cloud deployment is fear of the unknown," John Kunzier, who co-authored the study and is global director of portfolio marketing at Unisys, told DarkReading. "IT executives are not sure how they can trust what the cloud providers are telling them, and how they can collect the data they need about the security of the data that's in the cloud."

The fear of the unknown that Kunzier talks about is particularly pervasive in smaller businesses, which may lack the sophisticated IT infrastructure to know the particulars of the cloud. The survey points to the fact that businesses with more than 1,000 employees outsrip smaller operations as far as cloud adoption. One likely reason for this is that larger companies have the time and resources to investigate different types of cloud platforms and choose the best one for their needs. And as these businesses doubtless discover, the enterprise cloud holds all the benefits a company could need – from the expansive and mobile storage space that characterizes cloud computing to the security structure that ensures all computing is safe.

Still, it is important for all organizations – not just the big ones – to realize the benefits of the cloud, which is why differentiating between the public and enterprise cloud is so important.

Despite these fears, businesses are flocking to cloud in high numbers
The reticence on the part of businesses in the Unisys survey has done little to curb the unstoppable growth of the cloud. According to a separate State of the Cloud report carried out by RightScale, the business cloud is well on its way to attaining universality in the workplace, Beta News reported. According to the report – which questioned 1,000 IT leaders – 94 percent of those surveyed said they were running some kind of cloud application.

"Enterprises are adopting cloud computing in record numbers and have leveraged growing experience to overcome many of the early challenges including security," RightScale CEO Michael Crandell. "Large enterprises are complex and understandably deliberate in cloud adoption, yet with increased adoption they continue to unlock more value."

A cloud move is something that should be carried out with care
For businesses of all sizes, choosing a cloud service provider and cohesive migration strategy is not something that should be done impulsively. Even if joining the cloud will invariably be a worthwhile change, it is also a big change – and all big changes must be greeted with care and conviction. A large part of a careful cloud deployment involves the training of employees. Even if the two surveys discussed in this post only reached out to IT staff, the cloud impacts everyone at a business. Therefore, company IT departments should ensure that the rest of the enterprise receives proper training to navigate in a cloud computing environment.

The cloud is on a clear path to ubiquity. There will come a time in the near future when it is the only platform on which businesses operate. And when that time comes, it will help to be prepared.