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Survey: Small Businesses Switch to the Cloud Seeking Functionality, Security

July 16, 2015
Small Business
Small Business Owners Switch to Cloud
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• Small businesses are adopting cloud-based systems, especially for data storage, file sharing and email.

• The most common cloud-based products for small businesses are Dropbox, Microsoft Office and Google.

• When evaluating cloud-based products, small-business owners look for functionality and security more than privacy and cost.

Small businesses are moving to cloud-based systems such as Dropbox, Microsoft Office 365 and Google Drive in droves, according to a new survey. The reason: Owners want to make their businesses more mobile and data easier to access.

Cloud computing is a broad term for any platform, software or data storage system hosted on the Internet rather than on internal servers. According to the June survey by The Alternative Board, which runs business advisory boards for small businesses around the world, 87% of the 300 small-business owners surveyed said that they’ve switched to cloud-based systems within the past five years.

Cloud-based products allow small-business owners and their employees to work wherever they are, as long as they have an Internet connection. When evaluating their options for these products, business owners are more concerned with functionality (43%) and security (38%) than cost (10%) and privacy (9%), the survey found.

“Small business owners are less concerned with data breaches that might set them back than streamlined systems that can move them forward,” The Alternative Board Vice President David Scarola said in a statement.

Flexibility and protection

Most businesses are using cloud products for data backup and storage, file sharing, and Web-based email. Dropbox, Microsoft Office 365 and Google products are the cloud-based services most popular with the business owners surveyed. Intuit QuickBooks, Salesforce and Adobe Creative Cloud were the next most popular cloud products.

“As a small business with a team that spends most of their time in the field, having our applications in the cloud gives us flexibility and protection,” Blair Koch, chief executive  officer of The Alternative Board Denver West, said in a statement.

Koch started The Alternative Board Denver West franchise and is president of BEK Enterprises, a product marketing consulting company. “We can collaborate together, get documents wherever we are and we don’t have to deal with managing servers,” she said.

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For related information, visit NerdWallet’s resources on how to start a business. For free, personalized answers to questions about starting and financing your business, visit the Small Business section of NerdWallet’s Ask an Advisor page.

Teddy Nykiel is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email: [email protected]. Twitter: @teddynykiel

Graphic via The Alternative Board. Image via iStock.