More small business executives admit knowledge of the cloud is spotty

Picture credit: djking/Flickr

More UK executives have admitted their deeper knowledge of cloud computing is spotty at best, according to survey results from software provider Sage UK.

The survey conducted by YouGov, which polled 749 SME decision makers in the UK, found that more than half (57%) of respondents confessed to having only a partial understanding of cloud computing technology.

“While companies are becoming smarter about their use of the cloud and it continues to become a more viable option, the reality is that there’s still a pervasive knowledge gap amongst SMBs that threatens to hold back cloud adoption”, commented Rob Davis, Sage 200 Online head of technology.

Happily, 41% of execs polled said they fully understood what was going on under the bonnet. Yet there were more security concerns over migrating business data to the cloud. Data security (38%) was the most frequent fear, followed by the risk of downtime (25%), and challenges caused by a slow internet connection (19%).

Over a quarter of respondents said they were looking at a gradual implementation of cloud resources, a mixture of cloud and on-premise. “Cloud doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing decision; far from it,” Davis added.

This may all seem a little basic on the surface but it’s good, solid advice. Ivan Harris, cloud services manager at Eduserv, recently told CloudTech that hybrid clouds were “essential to the cloud migration journey”, focusing particularly on smaller businesses.

“Very few organisations are in a position to do a one-stop-shop, lift and shift their entire IT estates from physical on-premise to virtual public multi-tenancy clouds,” he said. “So you need flexibility in your infrastructure architecture to be able to deploy a changing hybrid cloud model.”

There are plenty of reasons why a business is reluctant to get rid of a private cloud for now; it’s still on the balance sheet, it’s connected to other hardware, or there might still be security concerns. Yet Harris doubts that hybrid clouds will still be around in five years’ time.  

“I think most people will be in public clouds and they will choose clouds with appropriate controls in place to manage their information estate,” he said.

Previous surveys gauging knowledge of cloud computing have often met with amusing results. The most memorable was a Citrix poll of American consumers in 2012 which found, among other responses, that an advantage of the cloud was being able to access work information in your birthday suit.

Things have improved since then – but there’s still a bit of work to do.

Postscript: The Citrix poll had one remarkable survey result. As CloudTech wrote on August 29 2012, “a quarter of those surveyed said the cloud was great for keeping embarrassing videos off the hard drive.”

Given the iCloud-related celebrity hacks of the past couple of months, this is a remarkable statement.