Small businesses not taking advantage of cloud offerings

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Do Canada's entrepreneurs fear the cloud?

That would seem to be the case, based on the findings of two surveys conducted recently by Angus Reid Public Opinion. Less than half of Canada's small businesses use cloud-based computing services, such as remote email access, data storage or software applications, according to a poll taken at 1,005 companies with fewer than 50 employees. Of the 53 percent who don't use cloud computing, nearly all of them (96 percent) replied that they have no plans to do so.

In the opinion of HP Canada, which sponsored the survey, this low level of interest reflects a lack of understanding of what cloud computing can do for small organizations.

“People just aren't necessarily aware of the [cloud's] capabilities,” said HP Canada's Leyland Brown. “There is a certain set of small businesses out there who think the cloud is just for large businesses.”

A second Angus Reid poll, conducted on behalf of Primus Canada with 504 small business owners, indicates that security issues may play a greater role than failure to grasp the potential of cloud computing. Fifty-four percent of respondents said they were “concerned” about the IT infrastructure of their business.

The latter finding appears to support the concerns expressed at a public forum held earlier in the year by the Office of the Privacy Commissioner, where the need for data safeguards was the primary topic.

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