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 business."
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.