Many consumers use the cloud every day to check their email, listen to music or catch up with friends. But, according to a recent study from the NPD Group, the large majority don't even realize what the cloud is.
In a study of nearly 2,000 American adults, 76 percent of respondents indicated they use some form of cloud computing. However, only 22 percent said they understood what the term "cloud computing" meant.
"Whether they understand the terminology or not, consumers are actually pretty savvy in their use of cloud-based applications," said NPD Group vice president Stephen Baker. "They might not always recognize they are performing activities in the cloud, yet they still rely on and use those services extensively."
While this consumer usage is good news for the cloud market, it may be disconcerting to some IT security professionals, as consumers who lack an understanding of the cloud may also not be aware of its data security implications.
According to the NPD Group, consumers by and large are using web-based email services, and many also access cloud-based tax preparation, gaming and storage solutions. Given the amount of sensitive information that is often stored on cloud servers, it is important that consumers do what they can to avoid putting their personally identifiable information in harm's way.
Of course, security concerns in the cloud aren't limited to consumers. Despite the enthusiasm surrounding the technology in the enterprise sector, many IT professionals view the cloud's security as a risk. In fact, according to a study from the Storage Network Industry Association, 75 percent of polled IT executives said they plan to use the cloud in the near future, but many cited security and performance as the top two concerns.