Cloud computing is all the rage among geeks for both business and personal use. But while the concept might seem a little farfetched for nongeeks, it's catching on like wildfire among small businesses around the world.
The idea behind cloud computing is to store data and software on the Internet , then access it and run it all over the Web from your office computers, which thereby don't need as much storage space, nor as much expensive software. Software and computers can be upgraded less often , the thinking goes.
In the first half of 2010, 14 percent of small and medium businesses (SMBs) reported using cloud computing services, and another 10 percent reported plans to deploy cloud-based services, according to a new study conducted by Spiceworks, a company that offers IT management applications.
But it's the smaller firms leading the way.
About 38 percent of SMBs with fewer than 20 employees use or plan to use cloud solutions in the next 6 months. Just 17 percent of organizations with between 20 and 99 employees have such plans, while 22 percent of organizations with more than 100 employees aim to do so.
The reason is simple: lack of internal staff to handle IT (information technology).
“Small companies with little existing infrastructure and outsourced IT are moving most quickly to the cloud, whereas larger SMBs are taking more measured steps due to considerable investments in onsite technology,” according to a statement from Spiceworks.
The findings are based on a global survey of 1,500 IT professionals at small and medium businesses (SMBs) with fewer than 1,000 employees. Additional findings:
SMBs in emerging markets lead the pack. 41 percent of small and medium businesses in Latin America/South America (LASA) and 35 percent of SMBs in the Asia/Pacific region are adopting cloud services. This is well ahead of the 24 percent of SMBs in North America and 19 percent in Europe that are adopting cloud services.
Technology companies are adopting cloud services at a faster pace. 34 percent of SMBs in the tech sector use or are planning to use cloud services. Companies in the services sector (such as finance, HR, consulting) are using or planning to deploy the cloud at a rate of 22 percent. Most other industries trail closely behind with 20 percent adoption rates.
“Small companies with little existing infrastructure and outsourced IT are moving most quickly to the cloud, whereas larger SMBs are taking more measured steps due to considerable investments in onsite technology,” said Jay Hallberg, co-founder and vice president of marketing for Spiceworks.