Small businesses in South Africa hesitant to adopt cloud services

May 25, 2012

Worries about secure cloud computing have limited the technology's adoption amid growing momentum behind the revolution, as just 9 percent of SMEs in South Africa have moved into the cloud, according to Business Tech. This compares a study by a computer security firm's study, which found that 40 percent of SMBs in the United States are using public clouds and 43 percent using private clouds - though some may use both in conjunction.

The South African study, conducted by the World Wide Worx research organization, does anticipate the rate of cloud adoption in the country to increase in the next year. By the end of 2012, the rate of SME adoption is expected to double to 18 percent of all SMEs, still well below the U.S. rate for similar sized companies. Large corporations in South Africa are expected to use the cloud at a 52 percent rate by the end of the year, according to the study.

Concern and confusion
Arthur Goldstuck, the founder of World Wide Worx, told Business Tech that SMEs waiting for larger corporations to adopt is nothing new. Still, the fact that fewer than one in five business will have cloud technology in place is concerning for Goldstuck.

Jargon terminology surrounding the new technology and worries about security in the cloud - worries that Goldstuck finds unfounded -- have created a large number of laggards across the entire business landscape, according to Business Tech.

"As with the corporate holdouts, many [SMEs] consider [the cloud] to be unsecure," Goldstuck told Business Tech. "This is especially ironic, considering that most cloud solutions are more secure than the average SME's PC's."

Growth of mobile
As worries about data security in the cloud hold it back from becoming the norm in business, overall use of internet-ready mobile devices has seen the connectivity of South Africans rise dramatically, according to a separate study by World Wide Worx. From 2010 to 2011, the number of internet users in the country rose 25 percent, up to 8.5 million users from 6.8 million the year before.

A massive percentage - 7.9 million of the 8.5 million users - access the internet from their cell phones. Justin Zehmke of Howzit MSN, a media company that helped World Wide Worx run the study, told TechCentral that the rise means many services will be mobilized in near future.

As mobility increases, the desire for total connectivity will invariably increase as well. This movement could work together with the slow adoption of the cloud to push both forward together.

-McAfee Cloud Security