SMB cloud market expanding

March 29, 2012

Cloud computing may have originated as a technology designed for large enterprises, but it's quickly evolving into a popular IT solution for government agencies and small and medium-sized businesses as well. With numerous types of organizations realizing cost savings and productivity benefits, the prospect of transitioning to the cloud has become too advantageous to ignore.

Several experts and research studies have recently examined the developing SMB cloud market, noting its lack of maturity compared to the large enterprise sector. However, most SMBs are now at least considering cloud adoption, a trend that has experts projecting significant growth for the market. According to a Microsoft Corporation study of 3,000 SMBs in 13 countries, the number of the world's smallest companies using at least one paid cloud service will increase three-fold during the next three years.

"Gone are the days of large enterprises holding the keys to enterprise-class IT and services," said Marco Limena, vice president of operator channels at Microsoft. "The cloud levels the playing field for SMBs, helping them compete in today's quickly changing business environment, by spending less time and money on IT and more time focused on their most important priority - growing their businesses."

The survey also questioned SMBs regarding their concerns about cloud computing, and the results revealed that traditional obstacles to adoption may be diminishing. While several other studies have found that security is a top concern for prospective and current cloud users, respondents to the Microsoft survey said security is still a priority but no longer a main worry. Only 20 percent of SMBs think their critical data is less secure in the cloud than in on-premise computing systems, the report said.

The development of less companies viewing security as a main obstacle to the cloud could be the result of many organizations using security solutions built specifically to protect data in the cloud. According to a recent study, nearly half of IT professionals surveyed said their greatest cloud security concern is a lack of perimeter defenses and sufficient network control.

-McAfee Cloud Security