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Security concerns over the cloud may be prompting more small and mid-sized businesses to slow engagement with the technology, while their larger counterparts continue to contract IT support services to help implement the increasingly popular storage solution. Despite the cloud's ability to centralize data and improve productivity, these enterprises are allowing certain concerns to overshadow the benefits.
Small and mid-sized businesses moving at snail's pace
According to a new study from The Centre for Economic and Business Research (CEBR), small and mid-sized businesses' resistance to using cloud computing has negatively affected their productivity levels and put them behind larger enterprises that are more comfortable with the technology. In fact, 42 percent of large firms that sell online use cloud computing, compared to 28 percent of mid-sized businesses.
One of the biggest barriers to more widespread adoption among firms of these sizes is data protection and privacy, the study reported. More than half of respondents (54.6 percent) named this as the main reason for not using cloud services. Many experts believe these worries were only augmented by the revelation of the NSA's PRISM program, which made data privacy a central focus for both businesses and their clients.
There is an economic stake in convincing more small- and mid-sized businesses to enter the cloud. The research found that 35,000 new jobs in the U.K. alone could be created by 2015, yet they need help in lowering the barriers to adoption.
There is hope
However, seeing the potential in these services, some governments are launching programs to help small businesses grow more comfortable with cloud computing. According to The Guardian, the U.K. has set a goal of expanding its spending at these firms through its G-Cloud program. This initiative enables suppliers to compete more easily, providing wider access to the services.
The U.S. has had trouble, though, supporting small and mid-sized businesses' move to the cloud. The NSA security leaks are predicted to cost the U.S. tech industry between $22 billion and $35 billion, as concerns are proving difficult to ease, according to a report from The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation. In previous studies by the group, the U.S. had been ranked as a leader in cloud computing usage and innovation, with 90 percent of respondents connecting the technology to their nation's overall economic competitiveness.