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    Small Businesses still Avoiding Cloud Computing and Keeping Data Local

    Cloud computing is reaching never-before-seen levels of popularity in the American workplace, as more businesses are choosing to store their data online for easier access and improved sharing capabilities. But not everyone is equally enamored with the cloud – while large corporations have been adopting cloud solutions in droves, smaller enterprises have been a bit more hesitant, a new study found.

    Application Continuity surveyed more than 3,000 IT professionals, and the firm's data showed that while cloud vendors are making a very hard push to market their products to companies of all sizes, the smaller enterprises are not biting. Application Continuity found that 90 percent of respondents at small and mid-sized companies thought it was "important or very important" to keep data and applications stored on local infrastructure. At least for now, the cloud will have to wait.

    "This survey confirms that small and mid-sized businesses desperately need to both simplify and virtualize their environments," industry expert Stephen Foskett said. "If I was managing an IT environment, I'd definitely go the converged route rather than building a pieces-parts system."

    Companies weigh their options
    There are many factors that IT managers must ponder before choosing to take the plunge into cloud computing. Cost, technical difficulty and security are three major considerations. That being the case, IT officials may sometimes find that while a cloud provider works perfectly for one department or one specific function within the workplace, it's ineffective in another area. According to GCN, businesses have recently begun adopting "mix and match" programs that use different resources, including some public cloud providers and some private ones, for storing different data.

    Despite the hesitance on the part of some smaller companies, the cloud is still booming overall, and the prosperity is expected to continue for the foreseeable future. According to Gartner data reported by CRN, global revenue from cloud services is expected to hit $68.3 billion in 2013 and $148.8 billion in 2014.

    "We are seeing an acceleration of adoption of cloud computing and cloud services among enterprises and an explosion of supply-side activity as technology providers maneuver to exploit the growing commercial opportunity," said Ben Pring, Gartner's research vice president.

    While the cloud is thriving, it still has plenty of room to grow. Catching on with smaller companies might be the next phase.