More small businesses paying for cloud storage – but they may not be getting value for money

More than four in five small businesses (81%) say they pay for their cloud storage, representing an increase of 10% over the last three years, according to new data from B2B research firm Clutch.

The study, which polled 300 IT decision makers at US small businesses who use cloud storage, aimed to examine what small businesses need to know when looking for a storage provider, as well as how vendors can better market their tools to small businesses.

The figures show that even small businesses who got on board with cloud storage last year would be seen as laggards; 63% of respondents adopted cloud storage in 2015 or earlier.

The main benefits of cloud storage according to survey respondents are wide-ranging, from access to data, cited by 29% of those polled, to data security (20%) and ease of access in sending and receiving large files (18%). This may be small beer to many organisations, but it seems to be effective if the figures about more businesses paying for their cloud storage are anything to go by.

Organisations are most likely to pay between $51 and $250 per month, with this option cited by 38% of respondents. 23% said they paid between $251 and $1000, with 9% saying they paid more than $1000 per month.

Naturally, while security is always the number one challenge, for smaller businesses price is significant as well. The report notes how, for some small businesses, their only reason to move data to the cloud is to use it as an archive. Almost two thirds (65%) say they want to use the cloud as an archive in some capacity, with 28% of respondents saying they only plan to use cloud storage for archiving.

The report advocates cold storage offerings, such as Amazon Glacier or Google Coldline, as a cost-effective alternative. “If you are looking between a backup solution or a collaboration solution, the collaboration solution is more expensive. The backup is cheaper,” said Istvan Lam, CEO of Tresorit.

Ultimately, however, the report advocates that cloud storage is key for small businesses, but only if utilised efficiently. “Small businesses place emphasis on cloud storage security, and the cloud’s ability to offer flexible and fast access to data. Yet small businesses may not be using cloud storage most effectively in terms of cost or brands,” the report concludes.

“Businesses should place data that is infrequently accessed in a cheaper long-term backup solution,” it adds. “Furthermore, small businesses should ensure the brand of cloud storage they use offers the reliability and security they need.”

This is the latest in a series of studies Clutch has put together on small businesses and cloud computing. As this publication reported in November, a previous study argued organisations were ‘confident’ about cloud storage security, yet many did not follow industry standards.

You can read the full report here.