Usage of paid cloud services could double among small and midsize businesses within the next five years, according to new research released this week by software giant Microsoft.
Its latest examination of adoption trends, which covers 3,000 SMB decision-makers, predicts especially aggressive adoption among the smallest companies. The number of companies with two to 10 employees using at least one cloud service will triple within the next three years, the research found.
The infographic recaps some of the key findings:
It definitely is in Microsoft's interest to ally itself as closely as possible with the SMB cloud movement, especially since historically many of its customers have come from the small-business world. Its survey suggest that approximately 58 percent of SMBs believe the cloud will help their organization become more competitive, which is one reason that many of them are rushing to invest in applications and IT services that are delivered this way.
"The cloud levels the playing field for SMBs, helping them compete in today's quickly changing business environment, by spending less time and money on IT and more time focused on their most important priority -- growing their business," said Marco Limena, vice president of operator channels for Microsoft, in a statement about the research.
Here are some other statistics worth noting:
- Mobile versions of cloud applications are becoming far more important; and this doesn't just mean email or calendar functions.
- Only 20 percent of the surveyed SMBs were worried that data was less secure in the cloud than in their on-premise systems. Actually, slightly more than one-third of them think the data is more secure in the cloud than in their own systems.
- Approximately 56 percent of the companies surveyed wanted a single IT advisor to help them figure out which applications to use within their organization; they want someone to worry about the details and integration on their behalf.