Confusion about cloud services holds back adoption by SMBs

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A majority of small and medium businesses (SMBs) in the UK and US are unsure of cloud services or think they are only for large companies, thus missing out on the opportunity to increase productivity and stay more effectively in control of their IT security, new research from AVG Technologies reveals.

AVG Technologies (NYSE: AVG), the provider of Internet and mobile security to 128 million active users, conducted research among more than 1,000 SMBs in the UK and US to gain insights into their understanding and attitudes towards cloud services and IT security.

The study found just a quarter of SMBs had adopted some form of cloud services, while a similar proportion(22% in the UK and 17% in the US) thought cloud services were only for large companies.One-in-three SMBs (31% in the UK and 28% in the US) said they did not understand cloud services at all.

"This research shows that the IT industry still has a long way to go before SMBs fully appreciate how much they could gain from cloud services," said Dan Matthews, business journalist, author and small business owner.  "In these uncertain economic times it is important that SMBs make the most of IT services to help them stay secure, increase productivity and keep up with the latest advances in an ever changing business landscape."

More than three quarters of SMBs in both the US (77.3%) and UK (76.4%) say they are open to technology that makes their life easier, and are, in fact, dependent on large amounts of technology –over 95% of UK and US SMBs regularly use up to five pieces of technology in the course of their day-to-day work. Significantly, however, a substantial proportion of SMBs in the US (42%) and UK (52%) say they are dealing with IT issues, including security, themselves – and spending up to four hours a week in the process.

For those SMBs who have taken the plunge into cloud services, the most popular usage is sharing/collaboration tools (64%), storage (34%) and iPad/mobile apps (32%).

In addition to the lack of understanding of cloud services, other factors cited were cost  (23% UK/21% US),lack of trust (17% UK/18% US), and the belief the services are too complicated (nearly 10% in both the UK and US).

"At AVG, we understand the SMB dilemma because several of us were SMBs ourselves. The benefits of cloud services don't have to be expensive solutions reserved for large companies with IT departments.   AVG is dedicated to providing SMBs with tools - like AVG CloudCare - that makes it easy to deploy the IT management and security services to help them make the most of the cloud's flexibility and efficiency in an affordable way," said Mike Foreman, General Manager, SMB at AVG Technologies.

Highlights of the SMB research findings include:

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