A survey finds small businesses are generally unaware of the benefits of cloud computing.
Nearly three-quarters (71 percent) of small businesses
surveyed by Newtek Business Services said they have never heard of cloud
computing, underlining a fundamental lack of knowledge about the technology.
Based on a poll of approximately 1,800 respondents, the
survey found only 26 percent of those who had heard of cloud computing could
describe what it was. And 71 percent of respondents acknowledged they do not
keep their critical business files and data backed up offsite-only 29 percent
of respondents said they did.
Barry Sloane, president and CEO of Newtek, said cloud
computing will be the next important trend in the U.S. economy for businesses
large and small, and there is no doubt that business owners will embrace the
cloud concept and over time gravitate toward its massive benefits.
"We surveyed over 1,800 independent business owners and
discovered that the concept of cloud computing has begun to disseminate into
the marketplace, due primarily to large advertising programs by entities like
Microsoft, Cisco and others," he said. "Business owners will need to understand
what the cloud is and what it can do for their businesses in the areas of cost
control, data security, data protection, accessibility, efficiency and
productivity to facilitate a smooth running technological platform for their
Sloane said about 25 percent of business owners said they
understood what cloud computing is, but when they drilled down deeper most, 78
percent thought that their data is secure. Meanwhile, 71 percent stated their
data is not backed up offsite.
"Server huggers beware," he warned. "The cloud is
approaching; the security blanket of the server in the closet onsite and having
an assistant back up important business data and confidential client information
needs to be behind us all. Our survey this month is quite telling about what
independent business owners really need to know about the cloud and how
misinformed they are about data safety and security."
A report earlier this month from Verio, a provider of online
business solutions to SMBs, came to a similar conclusion, finding that more
than two-thirds of respondents are uncertain if they would purchase a cloud
solution in the near future.
However, despite this lack of knowledge, respondents sought
the benefits of a cloud offering, with 21 percent citing the ability to share
resources and 20 percent citing on-demand resources as important, showcasing a
need for education on cloud benefits specific to small businesses. With the
proper knowledge and education on cloud technology, 20 percent of decision-makers
stated they were "likely" or "very likely" to implement a cloud computing
solution in the next 12 months, while almost 10 percent were "likely" or "very
likely" to implement in the next three months, according to survey results.
Nathan Eddy is Associate Editor, Midmarket, at eWEEK.com. Before joining eWEEK.com, Nate was a writer with ChannelWeb and he served as an editor at FierceMarkets. He is a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.