A recent study by Microsoft found that cloud usage is surging, thereby leveling the playing field for small and midsize businesses (SMBs). Marco Limena, vice president, Operator Channels, Microsoft, stated, “Gone are the days of large enterprises holding the keys to enterprise-class IT and services. The cloud levels the playing field for SMBs, helping them compete in today’s quickly changing business environment, by spending less time and money on IT and more time focused on their most important priority — growing their businesses.”
Research was conducted by Edge Strategies and survey respondents included IT decision-makers/influencers at over 3,000 SMBs in 13 countries. Below you will find some key findings from the study including survey results, benefits of cloud computing, and concerns. For more information, read the entire Microsoft SMB Business in the Cloud 2012 Research Report.
Understanding the Cloud
1/2 of all SMBs had at least a basic understanding of the meaning of cloud computing in a business context.
- 51% of respondents were able to indicate that cloud computing refers to business computing services that are hosted over the Internet and that they “rent” rather than “buy.”
- 32% thought cloud computing referred primarily to personal computing services such as Web mail or music and photo streaming.
Once a standard definition was provided, the following perceptions were expressed.
- 50% of respondents agreed that cloud computing was going to become more important for businesses such as theirs.
- Only 21% were skeptical and believe the cloud to be a passing trend.
- There is a significant percentage of growing companies (44%) that believe that cloud computing can make companies more competitive.
Motivators to Move to the Cloud
Lower costs and increased productivity are top motivators for SMBs to move to the cloud. See chart below:
Benefits of Cloud Computing
Concerns About the Cloud
- About 44% still believe that cloud services are unproven and, therefore, too risky, although less than 10% feel strongly about this.
- 70% want to know where there data is located.
- 51% consider data privacy as an issue that would cause them to hesitate moving functions to the cloud.
- About 1/3 of SMBs believe that the long-run cost of cloud services will be higher than through the traditional model, and about 20% feel that in the long run costs will be lower in the long run.
- 1/2 of respondents indicate that data privacy concerns would make them think twice about moving some apps to the cloud.
- Only about 20% of SMBs believe that data is less secure in the cloud than it is in their on-premise systems.
- 36% overall, and 49% of larger SMBs (with 51–250 employees), actually think that data is as secure in the cloud as in their own systems.
33% of SMBs expect to use a cloud service for billing and accounting in 2–3 years, up 94% from today. See chart below:
Tasks in Cloud Services Currently and in 2-3 Years
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