Cloud Adoption at Crucial Tipping Point, According to Google CIO

By | May 15, 2012

There's a "tipping point" for cloud adoption, according to Google CIO Ben Fried, and it's rapidly approaching. Once that point arrives and companies are over the hump and into the world of cloud computing, there's no going back--it will become the standard for IT. But how do midsize businesses and their IT fit into this picture? Is such adoption only meant for large enterprise-level customers, or will it better benefit "mom and pop" organizations? Where does the midsize business end up?

Google Me This...

A recent article at The Wall Street Journal examines Fried's take on the new world of cloud computing and why he thinks macroeconomic tides will force companies to adopt cloud options soon. Five years ago, Fried was working at an investment bank and started to notice that "consumer companies were forcing efficiencies on a scale never seen before." He headed for one source of this consumer disruption, Google, to see what all the fuss was about.

Now, Fried says, the cloud has led to "a level of vertical integration never seen before," driven in large part by employees accustomed to using cloud-based services like Google Apps, Skype, and iTunes. These same employees got tired of the dual-system divide between work and home and started floating the idea of using these kinds of consumer systems at work. Once CIOs got that ball rolling, it was impossible to stop. Now, argues Fried, the period of application distribution in the cloud is nearly over, and a new stage--the sharing of its environment--can begin. Once started, there's no going back to the way things were. It's big talk, and if true, it could seriously impact the way that midsize IT does business even in the next few years. But are businesses ready?

Gaining Ground

An article at discusses the results of a recent survey, which discovered that cloud computing, virtualization, and mobile device use are all on the rise for small and midsize businesses (SMBs). Forty percent of those businesses surveyed said they were developing public cloud options, while 43 percent had private clouds up and running.

Part of the reason for this cloud and virtual adoption, the survey found, was the need for increased disaster preparedness, especially as the amount of data generated by companies and customers increased. Redundant storage and quick turnaround time after data loss make cloud technology options attractive for businesses, and 71 percent reported improved preparedness after implementing cloud, mobile, or virtualized technologies.

Wrapping It Up

SMBs are adopting the cloud in part because it gives them substantial disaster recovery potential and can help lower IT costs. According to Ben Fried, that step-by-step adoption has led to this "tipping point" moment. Once the cloud becomes ubiquitous and more about environment distribution than app distribution, IT admins at midsize businesses will be faced with a very different world, one dominated by consumer-driven apps delivered on a large scale but still requiring appropriate network security.

Data shows that a full-on cloud adoption is coming. While IT admins may not know exactly when, they need to be prepared.

This post was written as part of the IBM for Midsize Business program, which provides midsize businesses with the tools, expertise and solutions they need to become engines of a smarter planet. Like us on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter.

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