Just 17% of Small Businesses in the Cloud, finds Dell

Fewer than one fifth of European small businesses are using cloud services, research by Dell has highlighted.

The European survey of 1,150 small firms also revealed that more than one third had little or no knowledge of cloud computing. Just 2% of firms with fewer than 100 employees worked entirely in the cloud, with 85% expressing concern about making the switch to online software and servers.

Most businesses surveyed were deterred from using cloud computing by security and privacy concerns, while others cited performance or availability issues as a disincentive.

However, business groups have claimed cloud computing is known for causing less downtime and can be more reliable than traditional office servers. Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) chairman for trade and industry Neil Hoose said:

“There are two issues for the lack of take-up among small businesses.”

“Firstly is the lack of sufficient bandwidth — 9% of small businesses cannot access current generation broadband, speed up to 24Mbps, across any of their sites, and 22% cannot access it at least at one of their sites. This isn’t limited to rural areas.”

“The lack of reliability and speed of service means that small businesses cannot run their business from a cloud because they are under a constant threat of lost or disrupted services,” added Hoose.

“Secondly, there is an issue around the lack of a legal framework on cloud computing. At the moment it is not completely clear where the data is stored and what legal rights you are giving up putting all your data on a cloud,” he said.

The Dell survey also revealed that the UK is leading the way on cloud computing, with 25% of UK small businesses adopting the technology, the highest figure in Europe.

Jeff Knowlton, Dell’s EMEA small business strategy & programs marketing director, said:

“Fear of the unknown, privacy and security is likely to be what is holding back small businesses from taking on emerging technologies such as cloud services.”

“However, small businesses have the flexibility to be amongst the early adopters of new technology and should capitalise on the opportunities it can bring to the business,” he added.

For small business advice on the subject read our article Cloud Computing: Avoid the Pitfalls of Moving to the Cloud.

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