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Growing worker demand for cloud services frustrated by firms' connectivity concerns

Warwick Ashford

Six in 10 workers are demanding access to cloud services, but only one in 10 companies are deploying cloud technology, a survey has revealed.

More than two thirds of respondents to a survey of 1,000 office workers by Virgin Media Business said they would like to access all the software they use in the office, through a web browser from any location on any device.

Office workers are confident their businesses can meet these expectations, with 78% believing that in 10 years they will be able to access all their applications over the web, which would equate to over 9.3 million office workers using virtual working technologies by 2021.

But despite the demand and expectations of workers, the research found many businesses are slow to adopt cloud-based services because of concerns over connectivity.

In a separate survey of 5,000 business owners, 88% have yet to deploy cloud-based applications within their company. The key concern is whether their network infrastructure is up to the task, with 22% of business owners saying they are not comfortable with using applications via the internet, 20% saying they are worried about the reliability of their internet connection and 21% concerned about how much bandwidth cloud-based applications will use.

Research firm Gartner estimates that, by 2016, all of the Global 2000 companies will be using public cloud services. Gartner said businesses that ignore these technologies risk being left behind.

With cloud computing freeing businesses via remote working, they could make huge productivity gains.

Apple, for example, has claimed 75% of Fortune 500 companies are testing or deploying the iPad within their organisations, with the likes of Xerox, Estee Lauder and Disney having already issued iPads to their workforce.

On top of the productivity benefits of working on the move, distributing contemporary technologies has a positive impact on morale.

"Business technologies have undergone a radical shift in recent years, with MacBooks now accounting for one in 10 corporate computers and the iPad now accounting for 1% of all browsing," said Mark Heraghty, managing director of Virgin Media Business.

"Underpinning the penetration of traditional consumer hardware in businesses is the less tangible method of storing and accessing information - cloud computing," Mark Heraghty said.

According to Heraghty, businesses have much to gain from cloud computing and, with employees willing and ready, the only thing holding them back is connectivity worries.

"A fast, secure and reliable internet connection is crucial to support an increasingly dispersed, mobile workforce, and once businesses liberate themselves from these bandwidth concerns they can start making the most out of cloud applications to boost innovation and productivity," Heraghty said.


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