Many small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are failing to get to grips with cloud computing and in doing so are missing out on a myriad of potential business benefits, according to the latest research by software security company AVG Technologies.
The AVG report reveals the "the majority" of smaller businesses in the UK and in the US are unsure about the uses of cloud technology and many believe the technology is only for large businesses or firms in hi-tech sectors.
A survey underpinning the report questioned 1,000 SMBs and revealed that more than three in 10 (31%) UK respondents did not understand cloud computing at all, while just a quarter had adopted some form cloud services.
Cloud computing is a technology that lets users access information over the internet, instead of programmes installed on a single computer. It means companies can upload just one suite of software online and allow staff members access to parts, or all, of it depending on their working requirements.
But despite the relative straightforwardness of the technology, 22 per cent of UK-based SMBs answering AVG's survey thought that it was only applicable to large companies with more extensive resources and larger IT teams.
This research shows that the IT industry still has a long way to go before SMBs fully appreciate how much they could gain from cloud services. In these uncertain economic times it is important that SMBs make the most of IT services to help them stay secure, increase productivity and keep up with the latest advances in an ever changing business landscape."
But businesses are open to the idea of faster and more efficient software. In other findings from the study, 77 per cent of UK SMBs said they were open to technology that makes life easier. Meanwhile 95 per cent said they regularly used up to five pieces of technology in their day-to-day work.
Significantly, more than half of the UK respondents said they spend up to four hours a week personally sorting out IT-related issues within the business, a significant investment of management time.
As the Cloud develops, more and more small businesses are harnessing its power to help them compete with bigger, richer and more established rivals.
Companies like US-based Getaround, which uses cloud software to create a market place for people to hire private vehicles, and Sign-Up.to in the UK, which offers business and personal customers a complete cloud-based online marketing suite.
We understand the SMB dilemma because many of us were SMBs ourselves. The benefits of cloud services don't have to be expensive solutions reserved for large companies with IT departments. We are dedicated to providing SMBs with advancements - like AVG CloudCare - that makes it easy to deploy the IT management and security services to help them make the most of the cloud's flexibility and efficiency in an affordable way.
* Statistics set forth in this article are from the Opinion Matters' Cloud Services survey, commissioned by AVG of 505 and 502 business data managers in companies employing 1-100 employees in the UK and US. Raw data from the study is available on request at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Follow Mike Foreman on Twitter: www.twitter.com/mike_4man