More staff in SME businesses are using cloud-based services to carry out their jobs independently of their employers’ IT department.
A survey of 500 SME IT professionals in the US and Europe carried out by Spiceworks found that 50% are doing so now compared to 33% in last year’s study.
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File-sharing services are the least common with 24% of respondents having approved cloud-based systems, but 50% of employees are using these through their own volition.
"Web-savvy users have discovered cloud-based file storage, sharing, and synchronisation services to get around IT-owned systems. They’re accessing data, whether corporate or personal, on their own terms. IT departments are not blind to this phenomenon,” said the report.
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The survey reported that 30% of companies who participated in the research plan to have a company approved cloud-based file sharing solution in the next six months.
Most staff (93%) who use unapproved cloud file sharing are running Dropbox.
When it comes to approved services, 40% of businesses will include Dropbox in their policy and 24% will include Google Apps.
The most common IT service to run in the cloud with company approval is email. The survey reported that 46% of the SMEs interviewed had approved the use of cloud-based email. This compared to 42% in last year’s study. Another 5% expect to move to a cloud-based service in the next six months.
According to the research, 67% of respondents said the main reason for using a cloud email system was to reduce the burden on IT staff. Just over half (52%) said cost savings was a reason.
Cloud-based productivity suites such as Office 365 and Google Apps were used by 35% of the SME respondents compared to 14% last year. Over half (52%) said they will use these in the next six months.
When it comes to approved apps, 60% of businesses said employees are using Office 365 compared to 59% for Google Apps. But for unapproved usage 78% of businesses said employees are using Google Apps compared to 41% using Office 365.