Posted by Robert Half on 11 June 2014
Cloud computing has the potential to cut costs, streamline processes and provide businesses with reliable remote access, but it's a big change and you need to ensure it makes sense for your business.
Robert Half surveyed a variety of small, medium and large businesses to find out what they really thought about switching to cloud technology.
Top three cloud benefits
According to the 2014 Robert Half Salary Guide, most businesses consider the top three benefits of using cloud technology to be:
- The ability to increase bandwidth and scale based on business demand
- Reduced on-site security requirements
- Automatic software and security updates.
Increased employee collaboration and reduced or eliminated variable expenditure were tied for fourth place, with 27 per cent of respondents each. That said, with 37 per cent of all businesses surveyed citing scalability as the most important benefit, it's clear that most see the cloud as an opportunity for growth.
Only 5 per cent considered lower energy consumption and carbon emissions as one of their top three potential benefits, despite it being a prominent selling point for the switch.
Top three cloud technology challenges
The research also revealed the top concerns businesses felt regarding potential risks and challenges, including:
- Increased security risks
- Implications for cross-border data transfers
- Increased legal and data privacy concerns.
An increased risk of IT security trends was clearly the biggest concern, with 56 per cent of businesses choosing it as one of their top three risks. A significant 33 per cent were also worried about privacy.
Almost a third of respondents also considered potential increased costs due to user ineffectiveness, excessive time wastage or both as one of the biggest potential drawbacks, while 17 per cent also voiced concerns about increasing their reliance on a third party.
Do the benefits outweigh the risks?
Weighing up the pros and cons of cloud technology can be difficult when you haven't yet made the switch.
The survey asked businesses whether they felt the economic benefits of cloud technology outweighed the risks, and 67 per cent of respondents said they didn't know. However, over a quarter said they definitely felt the benefits outweighed the downsides, while only 6 per cent claimed they didn't.
Readying your business for the cloud
The best way to access the potential benefits of cloud technology – while also minimising the risks and challenges – is to ensure that your IT department and staff are well prepared and educated about the change.
More than half (57 per cent) of the businesses surveyed in the 2014 Salary Guide revealed that they engaged third-party consultants to ensure they had adequate resources. 40 per cent said they concentrated on upskilling existing staff, and a third of businesses shifted people across departments. 15 per cent also chose to hire skilled interim professionals.
Surprisingly, 8 per cent said they didn't take any steps to ensure their IT department had adequate resources for cloud security implementation.