Small business confused by misleading cloud computing jargon

Dan Hatch News
25 Mar, 2011

SMEs are being led astray by a host of confusing terms and inconsistent messages, says CSA

The jargon and hype surrounding cloud is confusing small-to-medium-sized business and hampering their adoption of the technology, Cloud Security Alliance UK and Ireland’s small-to-medium enterprise liaison Amanda Goodger has claimed.

Talking to Virtual Clouds at the CSA chapter’s inaugural meeting, Goodger said that while smaller enterprises were adopting cloud faster than perhaps their larger counterparts, many were concerned they could very easily make the wrong decisions for their business.

"The problem we’ve got is that the advice and guidance SMEs can rely on is so variable, the quality is incoherent, so how can you guarantee what you’re being advised is right for you?" she said.

"You need to have the right information, advice and guidance out there – which, at the moment, it isn’t – for them to go to the cloud with a good degree of assurance."

She said businesses had continually raised with her that the available information was “technology-focused, not business-focused” and they weren’t making the leap to the cloud because they were confused. She said even some of CSA Global’s own advice literature was potentially too confusing for businesses because the documents were long and didn’t use "plain English".

Goodgear said vendors also needed to realise that SMEs had a different mindset to their larger counterparts when it came to risk.

"What an SME is bothered about is survival – cashflow, money – and maybe secondly the legal aspect," she said.

“It has to be something that isn’t going to cost a lot of money and there has to be a reason for them to do it (adopt cloud) – and half the problem is that they don’t see a reason why they have to do it,” she said.

While moving to the cloud was being sold as cost-saving measure, Goodger also urged small businesses to make sure they had understood and evaluated the risks.

"It’s not about cost alone, it’s about understanding what it is you want to put out there, understanding and evaluating why you want to do – and is it the right thing for you? – then making sure that when you do it, you understand what it is you’re putting out there," she said.

"It’s also understanding that when you put it out there, you can never ever bring it back, you can never destroy it.

"The other thing to consider when you’re moving to the cloud is, if you’re going to put it out there, can you get it back if something horrible happens like the service provider you’re using goes bust or there is contractual dispute or whether they can actually restore data. Can you trust what’s out there?"

 

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