Small Businesses Lack Knowledge About Cloud Computing: Report

Despite a lack of knowledge of cloud computing, respondents seek the benefits of cloud offerings, the report found.

"You don't know what you don't know" might be the expression most appropriate for small and midsize businesses when it comes to the benefits of technology and their business, according to an independent survey of more than 500 SMB decision makers released at National Small Business Week. The study, commissioned by Verio, a provider of online business solutions to SMBs worldwide, showed that more than two-thirds of respondents are uncertain if they will purchase a cloud solution in the near future.

However, despite this lack of knowledge, respondents seek 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.

"This data clearly demonstrates that there continues to be a need for educating SMBs on the benefits of cloud and more importantly, correlating those benefits to their current IT requirements," said Mitch Merrifield, senior director of managed computing solutions for Verio. "SMBs want to drive efficiencies, and cloud technologies are some of the most innovative solutions to assist them in doing that."

The survey also found that 19 percent of SMB decision makers are looking to cut technology costs, an improvement from 30 percent from last year, so the SMB appetite to purchase IT solutions continues to grow. Other findings include a sustained focus on building out and maintaining IT infrastructure as well.

"There are several considerations, including use cases, benefits, applications and purchasing, when SMBs are deciding how to best implement IT solutions such as cloud," said Merrifield. "We believe as their understanding of these key factors and benefits evolve, this will significantly contribute to the adoption of cloud technologies in 2011 and beyond."

A recent report found SMBs are beginning to move toward cloud-based backup (as opposed to traditional technologies) to protect their company data. According to a Forrester Research survey whose goal was to discover the drivers for the move to cloud-based recovery tech versus traditional on-premises solutions, five percent of survey respondents indicated they use cloud-based backup today and 38 percent plan to employ cloud backup within two years, while 68 percent of respondents said they plan to move toward cloud-based backup to reduce costs.

Nearly half (48 percent) said they are moving to cloud-backup because they are more comfortable with the security of their data in these new environments. Speed of implementation/deployment was also cited (32 percent) as the reason for moving to the cloud.