The Growing Cloud-Computing Market for SMBs

The results from a Zoomerang survey taken earlier this year found that many small and medium-sized business owners are confused about cloud computing, what the term means, and what the technology could mean to them. Specifically, the survey found this trajectory for the SMB market on cloud computing:

  • Have already deployed a cloud-based system: 10%
  • Not familiar with the technology: 47%
  • Have heard the term but don’t know what it means: 25%

Only another 2 percent of those surveyed are actively planning a cloud conversion, doing so for data storage, email and customer service. The cloud services market at the end of 2010 for small and medium-sized businesses at $8.6 billion, which included hosted infrastructure, web hosting, and collaboration. Small businesses were the foundation of this market, accounting for over 80 percent of the total market spending.

With cloud services, small businesses reap the benefits of not having to deploy a physical infrastructure like file and email servers, storage systems or shrink-wrapped software. This means less time and money is spent managing the technology. Plus, the “anywhere, anytime” availability of these solutions, means hassle-free collaboration between business partners and employees by simply using a Internet browser. A lot of small business needs can be met with cloud computing services, if the information just gets out there on what this technology is and how to take advantage of it.

With the proper knowledge and education on cloud technology, 20 percent of decision-makers stated in an eWeek.com survey that they were “likely” or “very likely” to implement a cloud computing solution in the next 12 months, while almost 10 percent were “likely” or “very likely” to implement in the next three months, according to those survey results. These survey results demonstrate the cloud computing market for SMBs is a growing one, and that SMB owners are interested.

If you’re one of the few interested in cloud computing services, make sure to ask yourself these six questions before making the leap. Cloud computing can be used for a variety of services, such as productivity, accounting, and communication, in addition to those mentioned above. The number of services will only increase as more and more companies begin to offer services on the cloud (like Office 365 from Microsoft, which has web development and the full Microsoft Office suite, all on the cloud). It’s understandable if you’re hesitant to move your entire operations to the cloud. Fortunately, with cloud computing, you have the option to have only some things moved to the cloud, like virus protection, web hosting, or data backup. Just about anything can be done on the cloud, so in this growing cloud-computing market, any need for your small business can be met with cloud-computing services.

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Allison Midori Reilly is the CEO and Founder of Stirring Media, LLC. Stirring Media, LLC is a content marketing and news production firm that provides content marketing and business blogging services to the small business market. Prior to that, she was a freelance writer, who was published in over a dozen print and online publications, such as Smallbiztechnology.com, American City & County, Ideabing.com, Transport Topics and St. Louis Commerce Magazine. In her spare time, Reilly is an active member of Amnesty International as well as an avid poker player.

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