Expert analysis from Kevin Gruneisen, VP of Data Center Solutions

These days, the question of “Are you going to get on the cloud?” has shifted to “Why aren’t you on the cloud?” Current estimates say that 90% of companies are using the cloud for some aspect of their operations, leaving behind a minority who have not yet made the switch. In a world where computing is nearly synonymous with cloud, why is this 10% so hesitant to change? Our team came up with a few possible explanations:

1. They’re unwilling to update their legacy applications. Cloud, by its nature, requires that applications be modified or rewritten to function properly there, and some organizations just aren’t willing to commit the time or energy to do this–yet. This is the “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” mentality. These companies are functioning “just fine” with their legacy applications on-site, and they see little need to make any changes until they’re forced to.

2. They’re still not convinced that the cloud is secure. Security was one of the biggest question marks surrounding the cloud in its early days, and it still seems to be preventing some organizations from making the jump. Hearing about occasional cloud security breaches in the news certainly doesn’t help these risk-averse companies, either. In an IT culture where the word “breach” is like yelling “fire” in a movie theater, making such a huge change to a cloud-based environment is simply too big a perceived risk for some organizations.

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3. It would require too many organizational changes. With the typical IT structure consisting of groups of personnel split into compute, network and storage, cloud is like a bull in a china shop. Suddenly moving to a new storage and computing structure would fundamentally change how the IT department is structured and run, possibly costing jobs or requiring additional hires. Although these companies likely see cloud as inevitable, they’re holding off for now, and postponing this organizational change for as long as possible. Even if cloud wouldn’t require adding or subtracting personnel, it would still introduce a major employee learning curve that some companies aren’t ready to face just yet.

4. They’re not sure if cloud is compliant with their industry regulations. For organizations that handle extremely sensitive data, cloud is a scary proposition: Someone else handling this data and securing it, possibly at a location not even in your home country, with employees you’ve never met. Even if the cloud provider is accredited to handle this sensitive data, just these thoughts are enough for IT executives to shy away, for now. They may have started to move their less critical operations to the cloud, but are waiting to make any further changes until they’re more comfortable with how their information is secured. Like #3, these organizations know that the cloud is probably in their future, they’re just moving cautiously for now.

What are some other reasons organizations might be hesitant to switch to the cloud? Tell us your experience in the comments.