Making Cloud SLAs readily usable in the EU private sector

Lack of transparency stopping small businesses from moving to the cloud

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

The survey polled over 1200 professionals from small-and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) with just over 600 of these firms using some kind of cloud service. 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.

Security continues to be the major bugbear for smaller businesses worried they’d lose data in the cloud – or have it taken away. One of the biggest worries emerging from the survey is the risk of data being lost, stolen or damaged (61% of the respondents). Respondents are also concerned about not knowing who could access their data (52% of the respondents).

Some cloud service providers are taking steps 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 FSB expects usage of cloud services to increase among SMEs in the coming 12 months, but added growth will be stronger if the concerns highlighted are taken on board.

Link to the survey report: http://www.fsb.org.uk/policy/assets/fsb%20cloud%20computing%20servey%20-%20february%202015.pdf