Small businesses are increasingly showing an appetite for the cloud, but we are far from reaching the tipping point in adoption. We are all familiar with the concept of the cloud, but we are led to believe that businesses are well on their way in using cloud technologies. This is far from the truth. Our latest research shows just 33% of organisations are experienced in the cloud and 37% have only recently launched cloud computing projects for the first time.

Every business owner will have its own pain points, but most would agree it’s difficult to get a handle on production, sales and finance while keeping pace with growth. The cloud can help tackle these common challenges by giving them a complete, real-time view of the business. However, there are still SMEs that find it extremely difficult to see how it works and recognise the tangible benefits available to them. So there is still a job to be done in proving the cloud’s worth and that responsibility should fall on the cloud providers.

[easy-tweet tweet=”Most organisations are worried about security (82%) and data protection (68%) in the cloud” hashtags=”Cloud, Data”]

Crucially, cloud providers must do more to boost confidence and knowledge among SMEs reluctant in moving to the cloud. They need to address the same concerns around security and data protection reported over and over again. After all, according to our same research, most organisations are worried about security (82%) and data protection (68%) in the cloud.

Reality check

It’s time that all of us as cloud services providers take a reality check and help SMEs become confident adopters. Let’s not leave any behind. We need to proactively give clear guidance on security responsibilities and support organisations in being better protected, ensuring devices and applications are properly patched and secured. Those writing the software are clearly best placed to provide this. With the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) coming into force next year, we also have a duty of care to provide clarity on how data is being stored and secured in the cloud.

But how can SMEs choose the right cloud provider for them? We have found that organisations want financially stable providers and prefer those that store data locally and offer local support. This will become even more pertinent as Britain leaves the European Union. They will trust the providers that can offer certainty in an uncertain market and choose to work with those with a vested interest in the UK and the cloud.

At Advanced, we see the cloud’s potential to impact every small business and, for this reason, have launched a cloud-first strategy to deliver a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solution that is accessible and adaptable for all. Our solution, Advanced Business Cloud Essentials, covers the entire business process from accounts and payroll through to operations, stock, customers and the supply chain.

James Gourmet Coffee, J S Bailey, Aspire Furniture and Aspire Manufacturing are examples of organisations that have invested in this cloud solution and trusted Advanced as a cloud provider to help them become confident adopters. In fact, the founder of Aspire Furniture, a fast-growing online mail order furniture business, says it’s an incredible tool for supporting growth over the last three years, and that he would never turn back from the cloud.

The sky is the limit

The bottom line is that, while cloud adoption is accelerating and that a breadth of businesses can use the cloud to gain a competitive advantage, there is still some way to go in convincing SMEs. A cloud-driven small business needn’t be a distant pipedream, but we all need to support the remaining 30% of businesses that, for whatever reason, are holding off from using the cloud. Only then will be reach the tipping point in cloud adoption.

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Jon Wrennall, Chief Technology Officer Jon is Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of Advanced having joined in January 2016. It is his responsibility is to drive innovation and quality in the development of its suite of software solutions and services to make a difference to Advanced’s 20,000 customers. A renowned thought leader in the technology sector, Jon has over 20 years’ experience in the industry. He spent the last five years as CTO of Fujitsu UK and Ireland, overseeing 1,200 architects and driving change across all areas of the business.  Prior to moving to Fujitsu, Wrennall served as Chief Information Officer, Transformation Director and SIRO at the Valuation Office Agency (VOA), and served as Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs’ first Chief Technology Officer, leading the integration of the former Inland Revenue and Customs & Excise organisations. Jon is a Chartered Engineer, Fellow of the British Computer Society, founding Fujitsu Fellow and member of the Advisory Board for leading application intelligence company, AppDynamics. A strong believer in recognising and harnessing talent, Jon founded the Fujitsu Distinguished Engineer Programme, recognising technology and excellence of role models who are shaping the industry.