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Data security concerns keeping SMEs off the cloud

Study on behalf of Chartered Institute of Management Accountants shows SMEs over-stating cloud fears

Data security concerns keeping SMEs off the cloud
Data security concerns are preventing SMEs using all but the most basic cloud services.

Concerns about cloud data security are holding back SMEs from gaining the benefits of cloud solutions, according to a new study conducted on behalf of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA).

Researchers from the University of Greenwich, Dublin City University and the Witten/Herdecke, WHU - Otto Beisheim School of Management have found that firms are reluctant to adopt cloud computing apart from only the most common uses such as email and file sharing. Only one in four firms (25%) have adopted cloud technology for business systems with even fewer (19%) making use of the cloud for financial accounting. Less than a third (31%) use cloud computing for customer relationship management.

The primary reason for not using cloud technology is concern over data security, with 66% of businesses citing this as their main worry. However, the research shows that in spite of public perception, cloud providers can typically offer increased security at a much lower cost than SMEs could otherwise afford. According to the report, cloud technology also gives the benefits of more efficient business processes and both time and cost savings but low-adoption rates mean that businesses fail to gain these advantages.

Dr Martin Quinn, Management Accounting Lecturer at Dublin City University, said: "Despite an appreciation of the advantages of cloud technology in general, our research shows that firms are holding back in key business areas, particularly in their management accounting and finance systems. Data security concerns are valid but overstated and businesses need to better understand the security, cost-savings and flexibility they can gain from adopting cloud technology."

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