Small Businesses Feel Safe in The Cloud
Almost two-thirds of small businesses feel more confident about using hosted IT than a year ago, research by CRM provider Really Simple Systems has found.
The survey of 466 small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) between March 2009 and March 2010, found that 62% felt “more secure” about using hosted IT, also known as cloud computing. Cloud services work by using the Internet to deliver software and applications such as email or Customer Relationship Management (CRM).
A further 62% reported that cloud computing had become more appealing since the economic downturn. With cloud services, fees are usually paid monthly and businesses avoid having to install their own server because data is stored on secure servers accessible over the web.
The poll also revealed that eight out of ten respondents believed that hosted IT required less in-house support than traditional IT systems.
CEO of Really Simple Systems, John Paterson, said small firms were increasingly turning to cloud computing as it became more familiar in the marketplace.
“Email, CRM and accounting systems are currently the most popular types of application.”
“Hosted IT is no longer a new and scary idea. It’s being seen by small firms as not only a means of dramatically reducing IT overheads, but also removing the burden of system maintenance, when most SME owners would rather be spending time developing their business.”
“Typically, cloud services are around half the price of traditional systems because firms don’t need to invest in software or servers, and businesses can normally get up and running with it straight away. Traditional IT systems often require up to three months for installation.”
However, according to James Rees, senior fraud, risk and compliance consultant at MWR Infosecurity, business owners needed to be aware of the data security risks associated with using cloud computing.
“Hosted IT or cloud is still a new form of technology and you are sharing servers with other firms so there is a real risk that other people could access your data.”
“Make sure your provider has taken serious steps to prevent this, and check what sorts of authentication they require for clients ― a username and password probably isn’t enough, as more firms are starting to use extra verification measures.”
“Small firms also needed to check how regularly their provider backs-up data and whether it is stored securely off-site, in case of fire.”