Cloud Computing: essential to SMEs?

It has been reported this week that 65% of US small to medium sized businesses (SMEs) say that cloud computing is absolutely essential to their organisation and future growth plans. Meanwhile 59% have stated that their selection of cloud service providers is largely impacted by their privacy policies.

This was revealed via research that was carried out by Microsoft Corporation.

The study also uncovered the fact that SMEs have been attracted to the cloud due to the opportunity for improving efficiency that cloud computing naturally presents. Cloud computing will also drive down costs. However, the main concern is still regarding privacy and security.

It has been revealed that the cloud policies and practices that SMEs seem to be most concerned about are transparency about location of data, segregation of data between customers and commitments not to mine cloud data for advertising.

The chief privacy officer at Microsoft Trustworthy Computing, Brendon Lynch, has been quoted saying: “Not long ago, the IT industry wondered if privacy concerns would prevent small and midsize companies from moving to the cloud.

"Our research indicates that is not the case. Instead, SMEs are expressing their interest in data protection by using it as a way to evaluate potential cloud providers.

"This desire for transparency from our customers is one reason we created resources such as the Microsoft Office 365 Trust Center to clearly explain our cloud privacy, security and compliance commitment,” he added.

This research has shown that SMEs expect cloud providers to be able to prove their commitment to security and privacy in a multitude of ways.51% of SMEs say that they insist on proof of compliance while 43% require the completion of a self-assessment checklist.

Meanwhile, 59% of SMEs wish for there to be privacy provisions at the contract negotiation and legal review stages.

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