Many SMBs use mostly cloud-based business applications

March 28, 2012

From large corporations to tiny merchants, businesses of all sizes use cloud services to store sensitive information, manage infrastructure and host critical applications. While big enterprises were ahead of the curve regarding cloud adoption, small and medium-sized businesses are starting to catch up, implementing cloud-based computing models like Software-as-a-Service and Platform-as-a-Service.

SMBs often contain fewer IT personnel and resources than large organizations, making it essential for them to automate IT tasks and improve efficiency whenever possible. According to a recent RingCentral survey, 57 percent of SMBs leverage the cloud to power more than half of their business-critical applications.

"We're seeing that the cloud is fundamentally changing the way businesses operate," said Naveen Gupta, chief product officer at RingCentral. "Legacy hardware and systems no longer fit the way modern businesses work. Small and mid-sized businesses are adopting solutions that are flexible, mobile and affordable, and the survey data clearly speaks to this trend."

The study revealed 60 percent of SMBs have no IT manager, with only 14 percent relying on an internal IT director or third-party consultant. Meanwhile, cloud computing and mobile device adoption have had a significant impact on the flexibility of SMBs, as 64 percent of owners believe they could manage their entire business remotely this year. The report said 67 percent of SMB owners use document-sharing cloud applications.

With so many applications and an abundance of private company data running in cloud environments, these smaller companies must improve cloud security through extensive planning and advanced technology. With cloud computing, one of of the biggest security obstacles is controlling access for users, who now use a variety of laptops, smartphones and tablets to complete work tasks in the cloud and on the go. For SMBs to realize the full benefits of cloud-based computing, security is a must, and protecting company data should be a priority, not a secondary consideration.

-McAfee Cloud Security