Cloud computing is confusing Canadian businesses

TORONTOCA Technologies (NASDAQ: CA) revealed results from a cloud computing survey up in the clouds atop the tallest free-standing structure in the Western Hemisphere: the CN Tower.

The online survey was conducted for CA by Leger Marketing between September 27 and October 14 this year with a total of 525 Canadian IT professionals and business executives.

The survey found that while only 23 per cent of IT executives admit to being confused by the concept of cloud computing, that percentage is significantly higher for business executives, at 62 per cent.

Jimmy Fulton, vice-president and country manager for CA in Canada, kicked off the event by saying even though it’s an often talked about subject, “there hasn’t been a more ambiguous term in the IT industry in a long-time than cloud.”

When asked to identify the main benefits for using a public cloud, respondents picked cost savings, efficient use of resources and flexibility and scalability as the top three drivers. For the private cloud, the top three motivators were cost savings, security and accessibility by users.

Respondents were also asked what concerns and barriers to implementing a cloud computing environment they had, and “privacy and lackluster service providers,” security and the U.S. Patriot Act were listed as the top concerns.

“A big concern in Canada is the provision of a SaaS (software-as-a-service) solution hosted in the U.S.,” Fulton said. “In Canada, there’s PIPEDA (Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act) and in the U.S. it’s the Patriot Act. At CA, we do SaaS provisioning for some of our key solutions.”

Michael Geist, law professor at University of Ottawa where he holds the Canada Research Chair in Internet and E-commerce Law, said location and where the cloud exists matters when it comes to compliance and regulatory issues.

Perhaps not surprisingly, 36 per cent of respondents said their company was using a private cloud, while 23 per cent are currently using a public cloud infrastructure.

Mostafa Zommo, associate CIO at Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC), a federal government department, said to better prepare for the cloud businesses need to make sure they understand their existing IT practice.

“Take your time and test the market and look at and talk to some of the companies that have done it (cloud implementations) already,” Zommo said. “Learn and be as informed as possible before making any decisions about where your money goes.”

Matt Richards, senior director for cloud computing at CA, said it’s important for CIOs to communicate with their respective IT departments by following these three steps: “Understand what you have in the context of your business, implement something internally if it makes sense to provide more secure or high responsiveness for internal needs that are on par with external needs, and stay on top by continuing to monitor and manage these decisions over time.”

For channel partners, Richards said there’s a tremendous opportunity for partners to help customers simplify their IT environments thru standardization. He also added that there’s an opportunity for partners to simplify the delivery of applications to their end-user customers.

To help its partners quickly ramp up their cloud computing businesses, Richards said CA has its 3Tera MSP Program available to the channel. Through the program, partners can receive special installation and training packages, free licenses for CA 3Tera AppLogic thru March 31, 2011 for up to six months, and live Web and phone support.

“The program is designed to help partners ramp their cloud businesses up quickly,” Richards said. “The idea is to get partners up and running in about 30 days and they’ll likely see a ROI in about six months.”

In addition to the 3Tera MSP Program, CA also has its Cloud Commons online community available to partners where visitors can access for free, case studies, reports, white papers, news and more.

Furthermore, Fulton said as part of CA’s continued investment in the cloud, in the last 14 months, the company has invested $1 billion in the form of organically developed initiatives and acquisitions to further support this business.

Follow Maxine Cheung on Twitter: @MaxineCheungCDN.

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Maxine Cheung
Maxine Cheung
Staff Writer, Computer Dealer News

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