Small firms concerned about cloud computing

Almost 4 in 10 small businesses are concerned about the security of using cloud accounting services, according to research by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB).

The survey of more than 1,200 small firms found that 38% are sceptical about the safety of cloud computing, despite 60% of firms using the technology.

The top 5 concerns of firms are:

  • data loss or theft (61%)
  • unreliable access to data (55%)
  • uncertainty about who could access the information (53%)
  • legal liability issues (41%)
  • becoming too dependent on cloud computing services (33%).

As part of the survey, businesses were asked what would persuade them to use cloud services. 48% wanted clearer terms and conditions and 46% said providers should make their pricing more transparent.

Of the businesses who already use cloud computing:

  • 74% store files online
  • 67% use browser-based email and calendars
  • 64% use file sharing services
  • 38% use browser-based office software
  • 37% do their accounting and invoicing online.

John Allan, national chairman of the FSB, said:

"Many small businesses are recognising the advantages of cloud computing services, but there remains a great deal of concern that sensitive data may not be secure or the service not reliable. Businesses don't want to transition to cloud based systems without knowing who will be liable if something goes wrong.

"There are significant gains to be made from using this technology so it is imperative more is done to address firm's understandable reservations and remove barriers to take-up."

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