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SMEs find value in the cloud

Cliff Saran

Cliff Saran

Cliff Saran is the managing editor (technology) on Computer Weekly magazine responsible for commissioning, writing and overseeing  the magazine strategy concerning all matters relating to technology from up-and-coming research and development to systems management challenges and legacy support and maintenance.

Cliff has been writing about these subjects since the early 1990s. In his current role, he writes a regular blog called Cliff Saran’s IT FUD blog which aims to unravel the hype, weed out the fear uncertainty and doubt spun by the massive marketing machinery in the IT industry.

You can contact Cliff by emailing cliff.saran@rbi.co.uk.

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Small and mid-sized companies are increasingly using cloud computing to transform the way they operate, research has shown.

 

The research of 400 SMEs, by global IT trade association CompTIA, shows that 18% of UK SMEs are using cloud-based products, while a further 30% plan to introduce them over the next year. Almost all (93%) of those using them found the transition easy and 79% found results positive. Furthermore, 81% expect to increase their cloud usage over the next two years.

The research offers insights into the huge business opportunities for IT solution providers and the new challenges that IT departments will face as IT becomes a more critical part of running the business.

However, SMEs are concerned about security (50%), reliability of cloud providers (30%), and internet connectivity (27%), and lack understanding of the cloud model (26%).

According to CompTIA, part of the move to the cloud will be driven by the uptake of tablets, which benefit from the remote access that cloud provides. The survey found that 37% of SMEs already have tablets and another 37% plan to purchase them.

While tablets are predominantly used for convenient access, some SMEs are looking at using them for specific business purposes, such as demonstrating a product (34%) or point of sale transactions (32%).

Seth Robinson, CompTIA's director, technology analysis, who conducted the research, said: "Tablets will open new challenges for IT staff, as employees use them outside work. Tablets can get infections from home networks, which can spread to the corporate network. Support for tablets' closed hardware system is different to that of PCs or laptops. These and other issues will need to be considered by the IT department in building a mobile device management policy."

The full report will be presented at CompTIA's upcoming Emea Member Conference on 9 November in London at the session "Technology Trends that are Shaping the IT Industry". The report is also available at no charge to members.


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