For the past several years, cloud computing has been disrupting the business world by providing organizations with innovative ways to save money, improve operations and gain access to next-generation applications. Small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) have begun to recognize that the benefits of the cloud have reached their organizations as well. Still, some fears about the hosted services held many companies back. A recent study of US SMBs by Microsoft, however, revealed that many of these concerns are not backed by data but are really just misconceptions about the technology.
The survey found that 60 percent of organizations that have not yet adopted the cloud because of security concerns. Other SMBs that have not embraced the cloud said the fear of unreliability or loss of control over sensitive data held them back.
Conversely, businesses that have adopted the cloud have experienced benefits in all of these categories, suggesting the shroud of uncertainty surrounding the cloud should not be an obstacle.
“There’s a big gap between perception and reality when it comes to the cloud. SMBs that have adopted cloud services found security, privacy and reliability advantages to an extent they didn’t expect,” said Adrienne Hall of Microsoft. “The real silver lining in cloud computing is that it enables companies not only to invest more time and money into growing their business, but to better secure their data and to do so with greater degrees of service reliability as well.”
The truth about the cloud
The underlying reality of a cloud infrastructure is that it is often more secure and reliable than traditional premise-based systems. Microsoft highlighted this truth when it found that a whopping 94 percent of SMBs using the cloud revealed that they acquired more security benefits using the hosted services than they did with legacy solutions. This meant having access to more innovative and up-to-date antivirus and data management tools.
The survey also revealed that 62 percent of SMB cloud users experienced greater privacy protection, while 75 percent witnessed improved service availability when using the cloud. As a result, more than 70 percent of SMBs leveraging the cloud were able to invest more time and money into product development and other projects that are critical for their long-term survival.
Approximately half of SMBs that have embraced the cloud were also able to pursue innovative technological and operational opportunities because the hosted services freed up time and budgetary resources, giving them the ability to capitalize on next-generation endeavors.
A separate study by Spiceworks highlighted similar results, noting that SMBs are investing in cloud, mobile and other innovative technologies to give them new opportunities to expand their business.
“The results of our most recent survey highlight optimism among SMB IT departments and a focus on the tools and technologies IT departments need to support their growing businesses,” said Kathryn Pribish of Spiceworks. “SMBs account for half of all IT spending worldwide, so the results of this survey bode well for technology vendors developing the latest SMB products and services.”
SMB decision-makers need to understand that overcoming challenges is part of any successful technological endeavor, especially ones that are groundbreaking and innovative. There is no reason to fear the cloud, as the hosted services are quickly becoming the norm for business operations in both large enterprises and small companies. The simple truth is that organizations that fail to adopt the cloud will only find it more difficult to compete and survive in the long run.
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