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Study: Misunderstanding prevents SMBs from adopting cloud

Small and medium-sized businesses are in a unique position to adopt cloud computing technologies to remain competitive with large firms. Unfortunately, many SMB decision-makers believe the cloud is designed for the enterprise and are ignoring the services, causing their organization to miss out on an important opportunity to reduce IT expenses and enhance operations, according to a new study by AVG Technologies.

The survey polled more than 1,000 SMBs across the United States and the U.K., finding that only about a quarter of respondents had implemented the cloud on some level. Roughly 17 percent of American SMBs and 22 percent of those from the U.K. said the cloud is more beneficial to larger companies.

Another third of respondents said they simply don't understand the cloud, suggesting that this confusion is likely the leading factor as to why smaller businesses are not yet fully embracing cloud technologies.

This was echoed in another report by TEKsystems, which found that many decision-makers have varying opinions as to their definition of cloud hosting services.

"[Defining the cloud] sounds simple enough, but ambiguity occurs when you start looking at public vs. private clouds, best data storage practices, allocating computing resources to meet application demand and supporting geographic distribution of virtual computing resources," said Randy Verdino, vice president of TEKsystems Global Services.

How cloud computing can change business
Although many SMBs are hesitant to adopt the cloud because they are uncertain of its characteristics, more than three-quarters of companies in the United States and the U.K. said they are open to new solutions that can enhance daily operations, AVG Technologies reported.

The study also found that roughly 20 percent of American and U.K. SMBs are planning to adopt the cloud within the next 12 months, despite most having a misunderstanding of the technology.

"The research highlights the need to educate SMBs about the benefits that the right cloud services could bring to their businesses," said Gene Marks, a small business owner. "It is clear that SMBs are juggling the same challenges as their larger counterparts but are making complex technology decisions without the benefit of an IT department or outside expertise to guide them."

As the cloud continues to be adopted by larger firms, SMBs will need to follow suit if they want to remain competitive. Getting educated on the technology should be a major priority.

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