MSP Today Expert Feature
January 11, 2012

Cloud Computing and SMBs: They Get It

The misnomer that large enterprises are adopting cloud-based services at a rate faster than small to medium-sized businesses has officially been quelled based on the latest industry findings.

Not only do SMBs “get it,” in fact, they are leading the way to cloud services.

Approximately 44 percent of SMBs said they had a “full understanding” of cloud services, up from 20 percent in 2009, according to data from Cisco’s (News - Alert) 2011 SMB Cloud Watch report. Moreover, 45 percent of SMBs say they already use at least one cloud service.

Longer term, half of SMBs will spend at least one-third of their IT budgets on cloud and managed services in 2012, Cisco predicts. The Cisco report covers small businesses with fewer than 250 employees.

Cisco’s research is in line with Microsoft (News - Alert) Corp.’s global SMB Cloud Adoption Study 2011, which investigated how cloud computing will impact small and midsize businesses (SMBs) in the next three years. According to the research, 39 percent of SMBs expect to be paying for one or more cloud services within three years, an increase of 34 percent from the current 29 percent. It also finds that the number of cloud services SMBs pay for will nearly double in most countries over the next three years.

Compare this to Gartner’s (News - Alert) findings that say SMBs are adopting the cloud at rates twice as fast as larger corporations, largely because they aren’t as risk-averse or don’t have to worry as much about integration with legacy systems.

Suffice it to say, SMBs are realizing the benefits cloud computing can bring to the table: cost savings, greater efficiency, improved productivity, among other pluses.

Service providers now challenged with the notion of whether to invest in services geared toward SMBs seem to have been given a definitive answer: Service providers are well placed to take advantage of the SMB opportunity, Cisco’s Scott Puopolo said in a recent blog post. In fact, he said, “They are preferred suppliers to SMBs, with the ability to offer the network-based features SMBs want (such as integrated security, end-to-end performance, and reliability guarantees).”

However, service providers will need to give SMBs the confidence and credibility they want in a provider to help guide them through the cloud adoption process, added Puopolo, who is vice president, Global Service Provider Practice of Cisco Internet Business Solutions Group.

“Perhaps most important, service providers must be able to credibly guide SMBs as they embark on cloud investments – helping them overcome barriers and realize the value of cloud and managed services,” he said.

Want to learn more about Managed Service Providers? Then be sure to attend MSPWorld, collocated with TMC’s ITEXPO East 2012 taking place Jan. 31-Feb. 3 2012, in Miami, FL. Since its inception, MSPWorld has been the only event with a single, vendor-agnostic focus of supporting Managed Service providers and their respective ecosystems. MSPWorld in Miami will delve into the most pressing channel and end-user issues that MSPs and their customers confront every day. For more information on registering for MSPWorld click here.

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Erin Harrison is Executive Editor, Strategic Initiatives, for TMC, where she oversees the company's strategic editorial initiatives, including the launch of several new print and online initiatives. She plays an active role in the print publications and TMCnet, covering IP communications, information technology and other related topics. To read more of Erin's articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Jennifer Russell