Though concerns with the data protection implications of the cloud are still strong among larger companies, a new study from AMI-Partners found many small- and medium-sized businesses are actually turning to the technology to improve data security.
According to the report, the threats presented by cyber criminals and natural disasters have driven many SMBs to seek cloud-based storage and backup solutions.
This represents a stark contrast to many studies, which have found data security to be one of the may inhibitors of the cloud's growth. However, AMI-Partners cited the desire to keep sensitive data safe as one of the main draws of the cloud, alongside cost savings and improved flexibility.
"Cloud storage provides these companies with the latest storage technology, realizing a significant reduction in IT overhead due to decreased investment in physical storage devices on their premises," said AMI survey research analyst Nichelle Grannum in a press release.
"Hosted storage also allows companies to subscribe based on their storage capacity requirements and desired backup schedule, coupled with the benefit of a flexible payment schedule," she added.
Furthermore, as more SMBs continue to deploy cloud-based storage services, AMI-Partners stated the market for such solutions would grow at an annual rate of 11 percent, reaching $270 million by 2015.
AMI-Partners' study reflects trends revealed by a similar report from Spiceworks, which found that cloud adoption among SMBs doubled in the second half of 2010, increasing from 14 percent to 28 percent. As this continues, the percentage of SMBs in the cloud is expected to have nearly doubled again to reach 42 percent by mid-2011.
However, even as SMBs are apparently more enthusiastic about the cloud than in years past, it is evident that much work is needed to address the underlying data security issues. According to a study released last month by the Information System Audit and Control Association, 41 percent of surveyed IT decision-makers said the risks of the cloud outweigh the benefits.