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Bitglass Report Says SaaS Rules the Cloud

This year's Bitglass report shows cloud use on a steep rise, with SaaS use topping the list.

More companies use SaaS than use IaaS and PaaS combined, Bitglass says in its 2018 Cloud Adoption Report. Since the average person accessing the cloud isn't some IT person orchestrating containers, but folks sitting at desks, checking email through Outlook, or working on reports and sales pitches on Office 365 or Google Docs, this conclusion only makes sense. 

For this report, Bitglass, a cloud access security broker (CASB) that helps companies design and implement cloud security practices, conducted an automated analysis of over 135,000 corporate email domains to uncover cloud adoption rates. From the onset, the company was primarily looking for SaaS adoption, because a workforce of hundreds or thousands accessing Office 365 or Outlook is probably more of a security nightmare for its enterprise customers than are their seasoned IT folks who presumably know what they're doing.

The results of the analysis aren't surprising, but there are a few things in the Bitglass report worth noting:

1. Cloud use continues to rise: This is a no-brainer, of course. According to the study, 81 percent of the enterprises Bitglass analyzed now use the cloud in some way. This is up from 59 percent in 2016 and 24 percent in 2014, representing a whopping 238 percent increase since 2014.

Again, don't get too excited and run out to buy stock in Amazon and Google. This metric includes any and all cloud use, even if that use is limited to consuming SaaS. If a company is merely using Office 365, it has adopted the cloud according to this report.

2. Amazon Web Services is the top IaaS cloud: According to the report, 13.8 percent of the companies examined make use of AWS. The tech industry is the top user of AWS, with a usage rate of 21.5 percent, followed by the education sector at 19.7 percent.

Interestingly, while the report mentions the existence of Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud Platform in passing, it gives no indication of how Amazon is doing compared to competitors. Only AWS numbers are offered.

3. Single sign-on is in use, except when it isn't: Oddly for a company in the security business, single sign-on use is the only security-related metric offered in the report. Odder still, this is the area where the figures offered are least useful. What percentage of companies are employing single sign-on? Who knows? The figure is not included in the report.

What is included is that the smart folks in education lead the way, with 40.3 percent implementing a single sign-on solution. Next in line is the energy industry at 37.7 percent, followed by finance with a 29.3 percent adoption rate.

Big businesses, at 44.1 percent, are most likely to deploy single sign-on, with only 17.9 percent of the smallest businesses adopting the procedure.

4. The bigger the business, the larger the cloud use: According to the report, 22.1 percent of the companies with more than 1,000 employees utilize AWS, a number that drops to 15.8 percent for those with 500-1000 employees, and to 10.8 percent for those who employ less than 500.

The same trend holds for SaaS offerings included in the study. If the company is large, they'll use a lot of SaaS; if small, not so much.

5. Most cloud use is software as a service: According to this report, SaaS is where the overwhelming majority of people and companies interact with the cloud. The report looks at Office 365, G Suite, Slack, Box, and Salesforce, and compares their use to AWS across 17 industries, with Salesforce being the only SaaS app with a lower use rate than AWS.

The Bitglass report is good news for people who earn their living in what I'll call the "real" cloud -- the cloud of AWS, GCP, Azure and hybrid. There are still far more enterprises that don't have a cloud presence -- at least in the public cloud -- than those that do. That's a lot of deployments of Docker, OpenStack, Ansible, and what have you still to come. And that spells security for vendors and IT workers.

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