The benefits and barriers of cloud computing in Canada: Who likes it, who hates it, and why

Canadians lead the world in internet usage and online social networking, so it comes as somewhat of a surprise that we’re acting so cautious and reserved when it comes to the rising technology of cloud computing.

In terms of adopting cloud computing as a standard business practise, Canada ranks below Japan, France, Germany, and its Southern neighbour, the U.S., which actually leads adoption rates. For example, 70 percent of American businesses use some form of server virtualization, while just 47 percent of Canadian business do. The U.K. and Germany sit much higher than Canada as well at 68 and 61 percent.

The chief reason for caution is security, of course. Security still lingers heavy in executive’s minds, and for good reason too: 43 percent of companies globally currently using a cloud computing service reported a data security lapse or issue with the cloud service their company is using within the last 12 months. Ironically, Canadian businesses had the less issues than average with cloud computing security at just 38 percent.

A close second reason for hesitation is confusion. Many business are asking, “What the heck is cloud computing, anyway?” As cloud computing gallops toward becoming a mainstream method of managing data and software in organizations, many are still left wondering what it’s all about. This cutting-edge concept is still in infancy, yet it has people saying it’s an integral component for every business’s future. Like everything, though, there are both ups and downs.

The Benefits

• Cost savings: Especially for larger businesses, cloud computing can save a lot of money on software upgrades and data storage.
• Efficient use of resources: Again, cloud computing allows businesses to focus on efficiency without sacrifices.
• Flexibility and scalability. An obvious reason to love the cloud is its remarkable versatility compared with the old ways of doing business.
• Security: On a private cloud, security is a major benefit.

The Barriers

• Privacy issues: On a public cloud, there are definite security risks.
• Poor service: Cloud computing on a grand scale does require sufficient provider service—but these infant stages of cloud computing indicate the art has yet to be mastered.

There are inarguably more pros than cons, and the cons are resolvable in the long term. Both private and public clouds serve their own purposes, though private is more favoured. As far as mass adoption goes, it’s really a matter of “when,” not “if.”