Cloud computing helps SMBs experience significant improvements

A new study by MYOB revealed that small and medium-sized businesses leveraging the cloud are more likely to experience significant cost reductions and operational efficiency improvements than organizations that neglect the cloud. These benefits are also expected to carry on well after the initial technological deployment, allowing SMBs using the cloud to gain long-term advantages over rival firms.

The study found, however, that only 14 percent of SMBs are using cloud computing for work-related tasks and 79 percent are not. Another 8 percent said they were unsure if they were using it.

"Despite the technology industry's best efforts to teach others about the concept of cloud computing, our research shows a disconnect between [SMB] cloud usage and their understanding of it," said Tim Reed, CEO of MYOD. "I question whether we need to rethink our educational direction when encouraging their move to the cloud."

Reed said that even though nearly 80 percent of small companies said they don't use cloud computing technologies for business, this is unlikely to continue due to the proliferation of online banking and other services that are based in the cloud.

Drivers and barriers to SMB cloud adoption
As cloud computing awareness continues to grow throughout the private sector, decision-makers are beginning to acknowledge the potential benefits associated with leveraging the technology. MYOB revealed that the ability to access mission-critical resources from virtually anywhere and having the technology to support remote working habits were some of the most significant drivers of the cloud.

"Cloud usage can provide a serious competitive advantage. Increasingly, businesses have teams on the road, in the office and working at home," Reed said. "The power of the cloud provides the freedom to work anywhere at any time, to be with your customers, partners and suppliers while still enjoying a connection to the office."

The study also revealed that there are some inhibitors to the cloud, as roughly 21 percent of SMBs said they don't know how secure cloud servers are, while more than a quarter said they simply don't know enough about the cloud to make an intelligent decision.

Another study by Wakefield Research revealed similar findings, noting that 22 percent of Americans have no idea what cloud computing really is. This means that service providers need to deploy strategies that help raise awareness of the cloud, allowing companies to more confidently use the technology to enhance performance.

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