Cloud Security Survey 2013: Private vs Public Cloud Deployment (Part 1)

This is part 1 of a 3 part series on a cloud security survey recently conducted by CloudPassage. The survey looks at the actual adoption of cloud computing, both private and public clouds, what cloud benefits are most important to businesses, what security challenges are the biggest pain points  and so on. (Click for Part 2 and Part 3)

Adoption of Private and Public Clouds

The vast majority of organizations have now deployed cloud computing (82%). The deployment of private versus public cloud is relatively close with 69% implementing private clouds and 61% implementing public clouds. And organizations are getting more advanced in their cloud deployments with more implementing both private and public clouds over just one or the other.

Cloud Adoption by Business Size

The size of the organization impacts cloud deployment. We defined small- and medium-sized businesses (SMB) as businesses with under 1000 employees and enterprise as businesses with over 1000 employees.

  • Enterprises Are More Likely to Deploy Private Clouds: Almost all enterprises have deployed (84%) or have plans to deploy (additional 12%) a private cloud. Only 4% of enterprises do not have any plans to deploy a private cloud. Compare this to SMBs in which only half (50%) have deployed a private cloud. Another 18% of SMBs plan to deploy a private cloud, but almost a third (32%) have no plans to deploy this cloud type.

  • Public Cloud Deployment More Even Across Organizations: SMBs are slightly more likely to have deployed public clouds than enterprises (66% vs 59%). But SMBs are also a bit more likely to not have plans to deploy public clouds at all (23% vs 20%).

This result makes complete sense.  SMB organizations have been amongst the first to jump to the public cloud – given that it is the easier route to business agility (all you need is a credit card to get going).  With many enterprises needed to contend with the “sunk costs” of existing datacenters and with many of the cloud providers building out their enterprise feature set in 2013, enterprise preference for private cloud makes sense but I expect this to slowly balance out in coming years.


What motivated organizations to adopt cloud? The survey responses show that the cloud benefits ranked in the same order of importance for both private and public clouds, but respondents felt the benefits were more important when applied to the public cloud.

The survey question was, “Which of the following attributes of private and public IaaS clouds are most important to your business?” This table reflects the percentage of responses that indicated these attributes were important or very important, broken down by cloud type.

It’s not surprising that elasticity & scalability and self-service provisioning rank on top – they are key to delivering the business agility that people want from their clouds. The lower ranking of resource pooling may be because it is seen as an entitlement – most customers have virtualized and already see some resource pooling benefits from virtualization. Programmable access and metered billing are understandably lower on the priority list but as more applications get moved to the cloud in 2014 and beyond, I believe these will gain in importance.

In the next blog post in this series, we’ll look at the current extent of cloud deployment—how much companies depend on the cloud today and how this might change moving forward.

Survey results from a Cloud Security Survey conducted by CloudPassage, September 2013.

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