SMBs just aren't into the cloud

A recent survey indicates that the mid-market is far from sold on cloud computing.

Conducted by SWC Technology Partners, the survey of more than 200 mid-market IT and business executives found that more than half (54.2%) of respondents reported their companies aren't pursuing a single cloud project.

One in five (20.9%) respondents said privacy and security issues were their greatest concerns regarding cloud computing, while 9.8% cited costs.

This, despite the relentless hype surrounding cloud computing. C'mon SMBs, the cloud vendors need you to get with the program!

But hype can't always overcome reticence, especially when jobs are on the line. And many IT pros continue to have enough questions about the cloud to prevent them from even a trial implementation.

IT journalist and consultant Frank J. Ohlhorst recently listed several potential problems with cloud computing that may be scaring off IT pros.

Most of these reasons touch upon the greatest fear of network professionals - that relying on an off-site operation for storage of their organization's data both increases risk and decreases reliability.

Forbes contributor Brad Peters, CEO of SaaS business analytics provider Birst counters some of Ohlhorst's arguments in a recent blog post.

While acknowledging that he "makes some very good points," Peters writes that Ohlhorst's blog post represents "classic IT department paranoia," focusing on potential problems instead of possibilities.

Well, when it's your butt on the line when it comes to a decision regarding enterprise security and reliability, thinking about potential problems makes sense - as long as you are open to the potential benefits.

Still, Peters insists, the possible complications introduced by the cloud pale compared to the one huge, incontestable benefit it can bring enterprises. And that's scale.

"The capital investment required just to build a corporate IT department is enormous," Peters writes. "And these are fixed costs. If you want to expand your services, that's even more money. And, God forbid, if you want to reduce your usage, what are you going to do: take a couple servers off-line and stick them in a closet until you need them again?"

No, that's what eBay's for.

Seriously, it's likely that SMBs are ignoring the "scale" selling point for cloud computing because the current economy discourages thoughts of growth. That probably will change when the economy improves. Whenever that is.

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Copyright © 2011 IDG Communications, Inc.

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