AVG announced results of a survey of 1000 SMBs that suggests small businesses in the UK & US are not adopting to cloud computing as quickly as larger businesses.

The report reveals the "the majority" of smaller businesses in the UK, and in the US are unsure about the uses of cloud technology, and many believe the technology is only for large businesses or firms in hi-tech sectors.

A survey underpinning the report questioned 1,000 SMBs and revealed that more than three in 10 (31%) UK respondents did not understand cloud computing at all, while just a quarter had adopted some form cloud services.

Although they are starting to get the message across not enough is being done by technology firms to educate small businesses as they are open to the idea of faster and more efficient software. 77 per cent of UK SMBs said they were open to technology that makes life easier.


As lack of knowledge seems to be the reason for the slow adoption rate to cloud computing we have written an introduction to cloud computing and the benefits it has for small business.


What is Cloud Computing


Cloud computing is simply computing over the internet. Cloud based services can be divided into three categories Software as a Service (SaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS) and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS). The terminology of Cloud Computing gets most small business owners confused but it is pretty simple.

Software as a Service is software delivered over the Internet, the most commonly used SaaS applications are online email services such as Hotmail, Yahoo or Gmail.

Platform as a Service is an operating system that allows you to run applications over the internet. Instead of going to Hotmail or Gmail to access emails the user can access everything from within their own customized environment.

Infrastructure as a Service is easier understood when referred to as Hardware as a Service (HaaS) as storage, networking, equipment and servers are all outsourced to an external company who own the equipment and are responsible for maintaining it. The business only pays for what it uses. Your SaaS and PaaS will run on your IaaS solution.


Key Benefits of Cloud Computing


Cost


There is no doubt, Cloud Computing is cost more effective, a great example of this is the cost of office software. Microsoft Office can cost $199 per user, Google Apps which offers a similar suite of software costs $50 per year for every user.

Flexibility


Employees, partners and clients can access, and update information wherever they are using laptops, tablets and mobile devices, rather than having to run back the office.

Scalability


You can scale your business’ storage needs seamlessly rather than having to go out and purchase expensive programs or hardware.

Automatic Updates


There is no need for IT to worry about paying for your future updates in terms of software and hardware.

Even playing field for small business:


This allows small companies to compete more effectively with some of the larger businesses, balancing the playing field. Your small business can utilize the same tools that multi-national companies use and can do this because with cloud computing, your business will only pay for what you need


Common Fears


Many businesses are reluctant to the cloud because of security, availability or data loss concerns. If these are an issue for your business choose a choose an established company such as Microsoft or IBM to provide your cloud services.



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