For the fourth consecutive year research from the Cloud Industry Forum (CIF) has shown cloud adoption rates increasing across the board, with 69 per cent of organisations adopting at least one cloud-based service. Levels of satisfaction amongst the 250 senior IT business decision-makers that had migrated to cloud services also remained high at 91 per cent.

However, it was the 86 per cent of companies still operating on-premise or data centre solutions that caught my attention.

It is very encouraging to see the level of adoption of cloud services continue to increase. However, it is not realistic for businesses with high investment in on-premise solutions to write those investments off and move entirely to the cloud, especially as we enter a period of economic recovery.

Looking into next year, the research highlights that 70 per cent of organisations will have a hybrid IT environment. This approach gives companies the best of both worlds: investment in legacy systems remains safe, but appropriate areas can be migrated to cloud services.

This gradual approach often allows businesses to really test Cloud Service Providers (CSPs) and make them prove their worth. They can use this approach to judge the CSP’s efficiency and security, both of which were highlighted in the research as the primary reasons not to move specific applications to cloud services.

Managing a ‘hybrid IT environment’ does present its own unique problems; managing data protection (39 per cent) and having a single view of the IT estate to make informed decisions (38 per cent) were both highlighted as the biggest challenges in managing IT across multiple deployment models.

However, as monitoring tools improve, and with the help of accredited CSPs – 65 per cent of companies prefer to work with publicly certified providers – end users will see real business benefits of adopting a hybrid approach.

This research certainly reiterates what we have been seeing in the market for some time now. The benefits of moving to a cloud model are clear to most organisations; but in reality most are unable to move their entire infrastructure due to regulation, or are unwilling because of data security concerns. A well-managed hybrid cloud environment makes the transition easier for all involved and will, for the foreseeable future, be the model that a majority of companies will implement.