Cloud computing: We don't understand it or we don't need it, say SMEs

Small businesses give hosted tech the cold shoulder

Small businesses give hosted tech the cold shoulder

The smaller a business, the less likely it is to make use of cloud computing services, according to a new report.

The poll by developer GFI Software found that while 86 per cent of businesses employing between 100 and 249 people use IT services hosted offsite or managed by a third party, such services were used by just 39 per cent of companies with less than 10 employees.

The survey, released yesterday, canvassed the views of up to 250 small organisations with fewer than 250 employees.

The main reasons cited by businesses for not taking up hosted or managed services was either that their needs were met by their existing in-house infrastructure, or that the cloud service was too expensive.

With cloud computing commonly regarded as a way for businesses to save money - due to the fact the organisation no longer needs to buy and maintain its own back-end IT infrastructure - the finding that SMEs believe a move to the cloud would be too expensive suggests a lack of understanding about the cloud computing model.

The notion that SMEs are unfamiliar with cloud is reinforced by the survey finding that 62 per cent of business decision makers at SMEs claimed not to have heard of the term 'cloud computing'.

"The majority of SMEs are resisting what should be an inexorable shift towards the cloud," the report continued.

cloud computing

Small businesses are yet to turn to cloud computing for IT services the GFI report found
(Photo credit: Shutterstock)

However, it concluded SMEs will be more open to hybrid models in future, where businesses rely on a mixture of services delivered via the internet and in-house.

The most common type of hosted or managed services being used by SMEs are email filtering and anti-spam, network security, back-ups and web filtering or monitoring, the report found. Server and storage virtualisation were the services with the lowest cloud take-up among small businesses.

The SMEs felt the main disadvantages of relying on a managed or hosted service compared to running services in-house were the increased risk of vendor lock-in and heightened data privacy and security risks.

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