Study shows small businesses still perplexed by cloud

A new study has identified that many business leaders who run small and medium size enterprises (SMEs) are far from at home with the technology and possibilities offered by cloud computing, leading to mistrust and misunderstanding of the industry.

GFI Software carried out a survey into cloud awareness and comprehension amongst UK SMEs, and it concluded that technical language and fears about network management under cloud computing are contributing to a less than universal appreciation as to the value of cloud-based solutions.

Only 10 per cent of SMEs based in the UK can explain what cloud computing is, according to the respondents who took part in the survey. In stark contrast to this figure is the 90 per cent of those questioned who were able to understand the key concepts of hosted services and managed solutions.

The report points out that most SMEs are becoming entangled in the superficially complex but often synonymous terms which are use to describe the different elements of cloud computing. It believes that this continued confusion is proving to be a roadblock to wider cloud adoption.

The report asked respondents to identify the service that they were least likely to outsource for whatever reason. It found that an overwhelming minority, some 79 per cent, were unwilling to assign the management of their networks to a third party vendor, with just over a fifth claiming that they believe that the opposite is true.

Other roadblocks to wider adoption of cloud-based solutions amongst SMEs around the UK include cost and the duplicitous nature of certain third party vendors, according to GFI’s CEO Walter Scott.

Mr Scott believes that cloud firms need to streamline the way in which they market their services in order to attract smaller businesses. The simplification of the jargon that is profligate in the industry is seen as a first step in the right direction.

Mr Scott also suggests that putting cloud products on the same level as the likes of SAAS (software-as-a-service) will allow understanding to permeate the UK SME market.

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