The push to move enterprise applications into the cloud will get a stronger shove in 2016, according to a new study from Bitglass.

The survey of 92 CIOs and IT leaders from the Gartner Symposium/ITxpo in Orlando last month indicates just how much cloud services and storage capabilities are changing. While a company’s cloud capabilities were once the emerging focus, they’re now becoming the main hub for what the enterprise builds and hosts its software and data upon.

Diving Into the Clouds

Just over half (55 percent) said their company’s strategy is now “cloud first.” There was plenty of evidence of that at this year’s Oracle OpenWorld, as the enterprise giant sought to convince its vendors that it could compete in the cloud space.

But with moving to the cloud comes the need for increased security.

That’s probably why 87 percent of the respondents expect to spend at least a little more on cloud security in 2016 — and why 34 percent expect to increase their security budgets by more than 20 percent next year.

Security isn’t just something bantered about in the IT dungeon: it needs to be on everyone’s mind, according to Bitglass CEO Nat Kausik.

"Progressive CIOs understand the powerful advantages that a cloud-first, security-now strategy can bring to their business," he noted in a statement. "As we get ready to turn the page on a year plagued by epic data breaches and other nefarious activity, we believe that the increased focus on cloud and on security by IT leaders is encouraging for 2016 and beyond."

Looking Deeper at Security

One of the main drivers of the rush to the cloud is the desire to get more computing bang for the buck.

The survey found half of the respondents believed their company saved money with their transitions to Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) applications during the past year. But the increasing complexity of cloud computing requires companies to play defense with security on multiple fronts.

The respondents said the major cloud security challenges next year will be controlling downloads, evaluating the security of cloud providers, external sharing and shadow IT. The latter was a major issue in past years, but it dropped to only 13 percent in this year’s survey — perhaps because companies have decided shadow IT projects can actually benefit businesses in numerous ways.

Title image by Yolanda Sun