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September 27, 2012

SMBs Embrace Cloud Computing Ahead of Large Enterprises

By Erin Harrison, Executive Editor, Cloud Computing

While large enterprises have the internal resources to either build their own cloud or continue using on-premise computing, their smaller business counterparts are adopting cloud-based services at ever-increasing rates. However, small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) haven’t fully embraced cloud due to security concerns as well as regulatory issues that pose challenges for adoption.

“I think the concerns about security are always top of mind for people. They want to trust the cloud, but every time there is a high profile breech, the press really hypes it up, and that makes people nervous. I believe that cloud technologies are a secure option,” Greg Tan, director of Marketing at Stoneware, recently told TMCnet.

While SMBs are adopting cloud at rates faster than their large corporate counterparts, Tan believes cloud is on its way to becoming mainstream between both segments.

“It is getting close to mainstream. Certainly on the consumer side it is there,” he said. “We are close on the corporate and public sector side. I believe that hybrid clouds will be the model that most corporations use. There are just some things that people will always be nervous about putting in the cloud.”

Cloud communications is one area where cloud adoption is strongest among SMBs. “I believe that anytime access is probably the key for using communication in the cloud,” he added.

The consumerization of IT is another trend impacting corporate decision-making around cloud adoption.

“Consumer cloud apps are helping push corporations to the cloud,” Tan said. “It is the effect of consumerization of IT. People expect things a certain way now.”

While many SMBs are turning to Amazon Web Services (News - Alert) and other public cloud offerings, they can also leverage private and hybrid cloud models, Tan added, noting that he doesn’t see a significant difference between the best consumer and enterprise public clouds.“I believe that someone like DropBox does it’s best to secure the data of their consumer customers just as well as their enterprise ones,” he added.

Tan believes that as adoption trends begin to mold, over time most organizations will opt to implement hybrid cloud models.

While the naysayers chalk up cloud computing up as a tech fad, Tan said that ubiquitous broadband access has assured cloud is here to stay. The flexibility it offers is another reason cloud will continue to grow, he added.

“You can access your applications and data from anywhere,” he pointed out.

Compliance regulations continue to challenge companies, with cloud usage altering this corporate challenge for SMBs in particular.

“They have to be sure that their customers know they are using the cloud. They better have a good EULA, or service agreement,” Tan said.

If there is any question whether Tan believes cloud services is a risky proposition, consider that he uses iCloud, as well as Google (News - Alert) Play and the Amazon service, and also stores personal files on DropBox and other cloud storage services.

Tan will be a speaker at the upcoming Cloud4SMB session, “Mobility: Driving Business Efficiency Using the Cloud,” on Oct. 4 from 2:00 to 2:45 p.m. at the Austin Convention Center in Austin, TX.

He said attendees will get to understand how Stoneware is the “glue” that allows an organization to build a unified cloud, that ties together their private data center assets, things from the public cloud, and also, what’s on their device.

“I’m looking forward to seeing how SMB is embracing the cloud,” Tan said. “I think they are probably further ahead than their larger brethren.”

To find out more about Greg Tan and Stoneware, visit the company at Clouds4SMB. To be held Oct. 2-5 at the Austin Convention Center in Austin, TX, Tan is speaking during “ Mobility: Driving Business Efficiency Using the Cloud.” For more information on Clouds4SMB, click here.

Edited by Jamie Epstein
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