Chief financial officers (CFOs) are finally trusting the cloud, but according to recent data from CFO Indicator, they aren’t fully realizing the cloud’s security potential yet. Research published earlier this month found that nearly three-quarters of CFOs say they trust the cloud, but 70 percent still lack confidence that they are able to access the data they need to make timely business decisions.
Researchers warned that this disconnect prevents CFOs from gaining a “single source of truth” — that is, a single source of data stored in the cloud that provides real-time information, also accessible in real time.
What about small businesses (SMBs) and their approach to the cloud?
That’s the topic of Right Networks’ latest survey, which asked 364 small- and medium-sized businesses about their use of the technology and how it impacts their operations overall. The findings seem all too familiar: SMBs don’t seem to be able to fully grasp what the cloud has to offer.
Further, Right Networks found that barriers to cloud adoption are one of many frustrations for the modern small business owner — and yet, SMBs remain confident in their companies and the economies around them. Take a look at the key data points from Right Networks’ SMB Cloud Impact survey.
—76 percent of SMBs say they are encouraged about their prospects for new business in the next six months, and that confidence is spilling into their hiring activity, with 59 percent reporting that they plan to add more staff in the next six months, too.
—61 percent of SMBs are at least “moderately confident” in the economy, and 32 percent said they are “very confident,” when asked what their national economic outlook was as compared to six months ago. While a slight majority (51 percent) said they were “cautiously optimistic” about their own businesses, 48 percent said they were “confident/bullish” in their optimism about their companies. Only 14 percent said they had a “slightly negative” outlook on their businesses.
—39 percent of small business owners say they look to client relationships to find fulfillment in their work, but administrative tasks like data entry, management reporting, number-crunching, taxes and balance sheets are having an impact on whether small business owners actually find their jobs fulfilling.
—21 percent said cost is the largest barrier to cloud adoption, despite cloud computing technologies offering the ability to remove the burdens of above-mentioned administrative tasks. But this isn’t the largest concern for small business owners: 53 percent said they have security concerns about the cloud, suggesting they may not trust the technology as much as CFOs in CFO Indicator’s data. Forty-six percent said workflow disruption was the biggest challenge to cloud adoption.
—32 percent of small businesses have concerns over healthcare and employee costs, meaning in addition to the challenges of administrative tasks, entrepreneurs have a lot of other worries on their minds. Other top concerns include government regulations, cited by 31 percent of small business owners, as well as employee management (3o percent), cash flow management (30 percent) and maintaining a work-life balance (29 percent).
“It’s clear from the survey that several concerns still stand in the way of SMBs and the leap to cloud [computing] technology that can take all of them to that next level of productivity,” said Rachel Krug, director of Product Marketing at Right Networks. “These results also show that SMBs are taking many factors into careful consideration before making the substantial commitment to the cloud.”
Still, Krug added, SMBs and their accountants see value in the cloud.
“These results from the Right Networks’ SMB Cloud Impact survey indicate that both CPA firms and their small business clients are leveraging the cloud to build better relationships and stronger businesses as they optimistically look to the future,” the executive stated.