Small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are increasingly recognising the potential of cloud computing, a new study has indicated.
In a survey conducted by Fasthosts, 70 per cent of SMB leaders claimed that hosted services will be an 'important factor' in growth for their organisation over the next 12 months.
The research suggests that more and more small enterprises are turning to the cloud for affordable IT services, greater flexibility and specialist vendor support.
Fasthosts asked a sample of UK small business leaders questions about cloud adoption at the Internet World 2013 conference,
Some 35 per cent of respondents said they viewed cloud computing as being 'extremely important' for business growth in 2013.
Many of these companies are already benefiting from the use of hosted IT services, delivered online from a remote location.
Simon Yeoman, general manager of Fasthosts, noted that SMBs are now following the lead of their larger rivals, many of whom have been earlier adopters of cloud solutions.
"Many large enterprises have firmly established their cloud strategies but SMBs have up until now found the concept quite alien and therefore haven’t integrated it into business operations," he stated.
"The results of this survey demonstrate that SMBs are starting to think seriously about the cloud and that they are taking important steps to use it to their business advantage."
The survey also asked respondents which aspects of their business they thought would benefit most from the use of cloud services.
Some 38 per cent of SMB respondents said the greater flexibility and scalability offered by the cloud will be crucial.
"For many SMBs, moving to the cloud is a big step but it is also a move that could be especially beneficial for this group," Mr Yeoman stated.
"The scalability of the cloud is something that smaller businesses are beginning to recognise as a benefit and factors like cost reduction are very important for smaller businesses."
He claimed that in a lot of cases, a lack of education about the cloud is the key barrier for SMBs that are considering making the jump.
As such, Mr Yeoman said it is important to equip SMB leaders with the knowledge they need to fully take advantage of hosted services.
"We are beginning to see a real move in the market as levels of understanding rise," he added.
Microsoft offers a range of cloud services designed to support business growth and increase productivity levels.
Posted by Sarah Parish