HCS Business Solutions in association with the Clonmel Chamber recently conducted a survey about Cloud Computing and the perceptions surrounding it amongst businesses in Clonmel and the South East.
The findings reported that the majority of businesses were not only familiar with the concept of Cloud computing, but would consider using some form of cloud services. Only 4% of regional respondents had never heard of Cloud computing, whereas Clonmel Chamber respondents reported a 100% awareness of some aspect of Cloud computing.
Simply put, cloud computing allows end users to securely leverage the Internet for application use, data storage, and other tools. Coupled with this cloud options are more cost effective, with no need for on site backup.
Almost 74% of the respondents were representative of small businesses employing up to 50 employees. This seems particularly apt as Paul Rellis, MD Microsoft Ireland, recently stated that cloud computing will give huge opportunities to individuals and companies alike.
“The power of computing that was once the preserve of large organisations can now be used by every organisation of every size. Cloud computing is a new industry that Ireland can take advantage of very quickly. The technology space changes so rapidly but this is a transformation that will be sustainable over the next couple of decades.”
Based on the respondents knowledge of Cloud computing the most important perceived benefit of using cloud services were:
1) it requires no capital up front investment
2) it cuts company costs
3) it allows staff to collaborate and share more information
Despite the positivity surrounding cloud services, many respondents expressed concerns about certain aspects of adopting the cloud. Across the region 85% of respondents stated reliability was “very important” or “a showstopper” for them. Whereas over three quarters expressed security as a very important or show stopping concern in adopting the cloud. Clonmel businesses differed slightly from the regional trend with a slightly higher 94.9% and 82.1% sharing the same concerns about reliability and security respectively.
While all of the respondents have broadband facilities, their broadband speed varies considerably with 10% of companies having a broadband speed of less than 2MB, while the majority of respondents (29.3%) have a broadband speed of 4 to 8 MB. However, despite the variations in broadband facilities, 43% of businesses were confident that their broadband connection was reliable enough to support cloud services to their business. However Clonmel businesses were significantly more confident in the reliability of broadband, with 52.6% believing that local broadband can support cloud services.
Neil Phelan, Director of HCS Business Solutions, which conducted the survey, believes that the results do endorse the future of cloud computing.
“The premise of this regional survey was to test the waters amongst businesses about their perception of the cloud, their knowledge of the services and to unearth their main concerns about implementing a cloud strategy.”
“Although some questions arise around challenges to adopting cloud services - security, speed and reliability will inevitably remain valid concerns amongst businesses. However, we do believe that in time companies not just in the South East of Ireland, but globally, will regard cloud based services for businesses as the norm. Cloud computing will give users a more reliable, remote and transparent IT service resulting in greater uptime and more business stability, which in these tough times is crucial.”
Mr. Phelan added that most companies and consumers are already using some form of cloud technologies and may not consider themselves as being cloud users. Services such as Online Backup and Remote Email Filtering are cloud based technologies that are being utilised already by many companies.
There has been much more information garnered from the research, all of which is available, upon request, to Chamber of Commerce members in return for their time and assistance.
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