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SMBs See Security Benefits in the Cloud, Microsoft Research Finds

Microsoft says their new research on cloud computing shows that security may not be the impediment many perceive it to be.

In a survey of 94 small to midsized businesses (SMBs) in the U.S. using the cloud and 93 that do not, it was revealed that of those who do:

- 35 percent believe their business was more secure

- 38 percent said they spent less time managing security

- 32 percent mentioned they spent less time worrying about their company’s susceptibility to cyber-attacks

“There’s a perception that security is a barrier to cloud adoption,” said Adrienne Hall, general manager, Microsoft Trustworthy Computing, in a statement. “Yet when companies embrace and invest in cloud services, they find the benefits far outweigh previous concerns.”

For those businesses that have not yet migrated to the cloud, the main concerns were security (40 percent) and the cost of transitioning (33 percent). The lack of confidence seems to be driven by concerns about transparency and a lack of industry standards. Some 67 percent of on non-cloud using SMBs said industry standards would make them more comfortable with migrating to cloud computing. Thirty-eight percent said the same about transparency.

Still, some SMBs plan to overcome these fears by 2013. Eighteen percent of SMBs that do not use the cloud said they plan to migrate to the cloud within the next 12 months, compared with 33 percent who said they had no such intention. Roughly half said they were undecided. Among those companies that have invested in cloud services , some reported being able to repurpose some of the time and money that was previously spent managing security. Forty-one percent of the companies using cloud services said they were now able to put more staff in roles that directly benefit sales or business growth.

In addition, 39 percent invest in more product development, and 37 percent said they experienced “improved agility and competitiveness.” In addition, 42 percent of the SMBs said the cloud made it easier for them to scale their business to explore new markets.

“Any solution that helps SMBs’ bottom line has to be good for them and the economy,” said Ryan Brock, vice president of Worldwide SMB Cloud & Channels at Access Markets International Partners, in a statement. “When it comes to security, the cloud offers SMBs a level of expertise, specialist resources and investment that they cannot hope to match. This translates into cost and time savings and better protection against cyber-threats, which gives them the freedom to innovate and grow their business.”

The survey, summarized here, was funded by Microsoft and run by comScore.

In a separate recently released survey coming from Symantec on disaster preparedness, the results showed that virtualization and cloud technologies are playing a big part in helping SMBs improve disaster preparedness. According to its 2012 SMB Disaster Preparedness Survey (PDF), Symantec reported that early adopters of cloud and virtualization technologies have benefited from better disaster preparedness. In the case of server virtualization, 71 percent of survey respondents said that their disaster preparedness improved with virtualization. In the case of private and public cloud they also saw improvement, according to 43 percent and 41 percent, respectively.

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