SMBs adopting cloud applications to improve efficiency, productivity

March 6, 2012

Large enterprises and government organizations supported widespread migration to cloud services before small and medium-sized businesses, but the SMB cloud market is now expanding, a trend that experts believe is only beginning.

The shift from traditional desktop software to cloud-based applications is one of the most prevalent trends in cloud computing and a significant reason why many companies adopt the cloud. According to Dell's recent SMB Cloud Application Trends Survey, cloud application usage will increase in 2012, fueled by SMBs planning to add an average of three new cloud-based applications. However, survey respondents cited several concerns regarding cloud adoption and revealed some important factors related to choosing a service provider.

Of more than 400 respondents from businesses with 50 to 999 employees, 69 percent said they prefer to coordinate with a single cloud application provider.

"This new research echoes what our customers are asking for," said Paulette Altmaier, vice president and general manager of Dell Cloud Business Applications. "Customers are looking for a trusted IT partner who has evaluated the right cloud applications for their businesses and who can accelerate their time to value with turnkey services."

Furthermore, the study found that on average, SMBs gain up to 38 percent improvement in operational efficiency and up to 39 percent in employee productivity. Both of these advantages are due to the cloud enabling IT professionals to automate tasks, reducing the amount of manual work and allowing employees to focus on business processes and innovation.

Although SMBs are becoming more interested in implementing cloud solutions like Software-as-a-Service and Platform-as-a-Service, security in the cloud remains an obstacle. Despite most experts describing the cloud as a safe, secure computing environment, many SMBs have concerns regarding the security of their private data. To offset these concerns, some IT security providers now offer integrated solutions designed to protect critical company information and applications across multiple clouds, devices, networks and devices.

According to one recent study, cloud environments are actually more secure than on-premise infrastructure, although this is only true for organizations that have developed security strategies and ensure their service level agreements include satisfactory data protection measures.

-McAfee Cloud Security