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  Microsoft recently surveyed 3,000 small and medium sized businesses in 13 countries to find commonalities and reasons to why they are moving more towards cloud computing.  The study showed SMBs “believe in themselves”: 76% of the respondents agree small businesses are the backbone of the economy, more than half predict growth within the next 12-18 months, and 79% think new and better technology will make work more enjoyable.

What’s more, these SMBs are moving even faster towards the cloud.  The study showed businesses with 2-10 employees using cloud computing will triple in the next three years. At least half of the participants believe cloud computing is important for businesses like theirs.

But just like everything else, there were downsides illuminated.  Most of the small businesses were concerned regarding security and having enough man power to implement the new technology.  However, only 20% of the survey takers believe their data is less secure in the cloud than on their premises.

This report is in alignment with several others predicting a huge jump to more cloud computing in general, and in the small business industry.  The reasons these small businesses pick the cloud is because:

  1. it increases competition and is essential for small businesses,
  2. mobility is needed and the cloud offers access from any device and any location,
  3. they imagine even more need to archive data and information in the future.

The report signifies the need for new technology in order for these businesses to survive.  Out of the 3,000 businesses surveyed, 53% believe they need technology to keep in business. Furthermore, 67% of the larger small businesses (classified as a business with 51-250 employees by Microsoft) agree keeping up with the newest technology will determine if they can thrive.  And 32% say they are worried their competitors are using advanced technology which makes them more motivated to get into the cloud computing industry.

But do small businesses understand the complexities of cloud computing?  The report found half of all the small businesses survey had a general understanding.  But, 32% thought cloud computing referred to personal computing for web mail and photo streaming.  Once the survey takers were given a clear cut definition of what cloud computing is, half of them agreed the application is important for businesses like theirs and 21% were skeptical and thought it a passing trend.

About 30% of the surveyed businesses already use cloud computing and an additional 14% just use it for e-mail.  Now and in the next two to three years, these small businesses plan to use cloud computing for these services:

  1. project management
  2. IM
  3. online backup database
  4. voice communication
  5. file sharing
  6. webconferencing
  7. e-mail
  8. marketing

How do businesses get information on cloud computing?  They mostly get it from their provider’s website and specific software websites.  Additionally, blogs are just as important as these websites.  Blogs from analysts, industry professionals, and experienced users are most useful.  Secondly, businesses turn to their IT supporter and general business publications for information.

 You can find the detailed and easy to read report here