Cloud computing is considered one of the most popular technologies available to not only companies, but consumers as well. The Business Software Alliance (BSA) recently conducted A global survey of nearly 15,000 computer users in 33 countries that revealed 45 percent of participants use the cloud to create, store and manage digital files, such as photos, documents and spreadsheets.
However, in emerging markets like Argentina, Malaysia, Peru and Thailand, an average of 50 percent of respondents are leveraging the cloud in this fashion. In the United States, Germany, France and the U.K., this figure dips to an average of 33 percent, according to the BSA.
"We're seeing a leapfrog effect. A lot of recent adopters of computers and information technology are jumping straight to the cloud," said BSA president and CEO Robert Holleyman.
The survey also found that nearly 90 percent of cloud consumers utilize the technology for personal uses, while 33 percent do so for business needs. BSA said both of these percentages are higher in emerging countries than mature ones.
The survey showed that 42 percent of participants who pay for cloud services said they share log-in information within their businesses, while 45 percent answered this way in emerging markets. BSA said this figure dips to 30 percent on average in mature economies.
"It doesn't necessarily mean 42 percent of business users are pirating cloud services," Holleyman said. "Some licenses may allow sharing of accounts - and many cloud service providers charge not by 'seat' but by the volume of computing resources consumed, making the path users take to access those resources less important."
Cloud computing considered positive for all
While more computer users than ever are using cloud computing services, so much so that market research firm Gartner
predicted that the amount of consumer content stored in the cloud will grow from 7 percent in 2011 to 36 percent by 2016, the technology is considered a game-changer for companies.
CloudTweaks' Balaji Viswanathan
highlighted the immense benefits of the cloud among small and medium-sized businesses. The writer explained that SMBs leveraging the cloud are not required to hire on-site staff members and can employ remote employees to manage cloud performance
But where the cloud truly shines, especially with its public model, is its ability to help SMBs lower overall IT costs. Viswanathan explained that SMBs no longer have to store their servers on-site because this technology is handled by the service providers themselves. Organizations that used to allocate much of their IT spending on hardware can now invest in other areas.
"Many SMBs are cash-strapped, and having a heavy capital outlay for IT infrastructure can cripple investment elsewhere," Viswanathan wrote. "By moving capital expenses to operational expenses, you get to use your precious capital in the other areas of the company."
The advantages of the cloud among SMBs does not end there, however. Considering that small businesses lack the spending prowess of larger competitors, any IT disruption can effectively shut these organizations down for good. With cloud solutions in place, SMBs can improve disaster recovery and continuity so they are more capable of responding to a crippling event, the writer noted.
Viswanathan added that although some startups may have already invested much of their IT budgets in other technologies and are unwilling to purchase cloud services, the solution is too beneficial to pass up. SMBs still on the fence regarding the cloud should look at the long-term advantages.