Federation of Small Businesses warns of continued security fears for SMBs in the cloud

James is editor in chief of TechForge Media, with a passion for how technologies influence business and several Mobile World Congress events under his belt. James has interviewed a variety of leading figures in his career, from former Mafia boss Michael Franzese, to Steve Wozniak, and Jean Michel Jarre. James can be found tweeting at @James_T_Bourne.

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The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has found nearly two fifths of small businesses are sceptical about the benefits of cloud technology when compared against security risks.

The survey, which was conducted in association with Verve and polled over 1200 SMB professionals, found 59% were using cloud services of some description, and of those, the biggest worry was a risk of data being lost, stolen or damaged, cited by 61% of respondents.

55% were worried about not being able to access online services as and when, while 52% were concerned about not knowing who could access their data. Intriguingly, a third (33%) of respondents worried they would become too reliant on cloud computing services.

While security continues to be the major bugbear for smaller businesses worried they’d lose data in the cloud – or have it taken away – steps have been taken by cloud service providers to change things, most notably building data centres in Europe for European customers.

The FSB said that while the move for European data centres was welcome, it won’t in their opinion impact small businesses’ mindset, as the perception that companies won’t have control of data in the cloud will still exist.

The most popular cloud service for small businesses was by far file storage according to 73% of respondents, followed by email and contacts (63%). Online document processing (38%) and accounting (36%) were also popular.

The need for cloud services among smaller businesses was relatively mixed. Almost a quarter (23%) of respondents say their business needs cloud “a great deal,”, 22% said they needed it “a fair amount”, 27% said “not very much” when 20% opted for “not at all.” For future uptake, respondents argued that terms and conditions in plain English (47%) and more transparent pricing (46%) were key.

The FSB expects usage of cloud services to increase among SMBs in the coming 12 months, but added growth will be stronger if the concerns highlighted are taken on board.

You can find the full survey data here.

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