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third of small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) have already adopted the
cloud in one way or another, and another 35 percent are expected to invest in
cloud computing technology in some form in the next year, according to the
latest research from CompTIA.

technology becomes more affordable and constrained budgets begin to open up,
the number of SMBs using the cloud is going to double in the next year,
according to CompTIA’s Third Annual Small and Medium Business Technology
Adoptions Trends survey and report. The CompTIA survey of 602 IT and business
professionals in SMBs in the U.S., found that the most heavily used cloud
application among SMBs is storage/backup, with 71 percent of cloud-savvy SMBs
using storage and backup cloud solutions. Email (62 percent) is the second most
adopted cloud technology among SMBs, followed by document management (59
percent), collaboration (56 percent) and customer relationship management (53

good news for cloud services providers is that most SMBs have been quite happy
with the cloud computing services and applications they use. In fact, 92
percent of the businesses that said they use some form of cloud computing
reported either a positive or very positive experience. Even better, 97 percent
reported their move to the cloud produced the desired results, including
reduced costs and increased flexibility.

computing isn’t the only upwards trend within the SMB community, though. The
CompTIA survey found that SMBs are looking to increase their technology
investments within the next year to improve customer interactions, mobility
options and operational efficiencies.

is going to increase, with 70 percent of SMBs expecting to increase their
technology spend over the next 12 months, and a third expect to increase their
IT budgets by 10 percent or more. Although CompTIA noted the increased budgets
could reflect large, one-time purchases, it’s still a good sign. The average IT
budget increase is expected to be slightly over 5 percent.

is more accessible, more affordable and more available to SMBs than ever
before,” said Seth Robinson, director of technology analysis at CompTIA, in a
statement. “SMBs may not have an abundance of capital to invest, so they have
to make every dollar count. But the majority is willing to spend money on new
technologies, especially solutions that give them capabilities on par with a
larger enterprise. Technology plays an integral role in the life of a small

driving this increase in technology spending? Mobility is a clear trend
uncovered by the survey, which found that 42 percent of medium-sized businesses
(100-499 employees) already have mobile technologies in place for greater
productivity, including tablets, laptops and smartphones. Another 33 percent
plan to deploy mobile technologies and devices in the next year.

businesses (10-99 employees) are lagging behind a bit, with 25 percent already
using mobile solutions and 43 percent planning to embrace mobility in the next
year. Micro businesses (one to nine employees) are also expecting to take a big
leap forward in the use of mobile solutions. Currently, 12 percent of micro
businesses use mobility solutions, and another 22 percent plan to adopt such
solutions in the next 12 months.

noted the trend towards mobility solutions within the SMB market is similar to
the trend within the enterprise. Another trend affecting both enterprises and
SMBs is the consumerization of IT in the corporate environment. Of the SMBs
surveyed, 85 percent said their employees use personal technology devices for
work purposes, with laptops and smartphones being the most popular consumer
devices proliferating within the business world. However, 38 percent of SMBs
have employees that use personal tablets for business purposes.

there are convenience and productivity benefits to the consumerization of IT, a
large majority (82 percent) of SMBs feel the trend is cause for concern.

top concerns are security-related, whether in the form of a virus being brought
into the company network or some breach related to customer data,” Robinson
said. “The time supporting these devices is also cited as a concern, whether it’s
time spent by IT staff or by individual employees attempting to access corporate
networks and applications.”

mitigate risks, SMBs may purchase mobile devices their employees can use to
bring the technology under corporate IT control, according to CompTIA.