Over half of British businesses do not fully understand cloud computing, according to new figures released today.
Fifty seven percent of firms do not know what the term ‘cloud hosting’ means, the research found. Out of the 600 firms surveyed by Vanson Bourne, 43 percent said cloud hosting meant accessing remote servers on the internet, and 31 percent said it was about using applications on the net.
One in seven businesses thought cloud hosting meant virtualisation, and eight percent said it was online storage.
Some 27 percent of UK firms did not know how they would use cloud computing as part of their IT set-up, according to the research.
Despite the lack of understanding, over a third of UK businesses are considering using cloud hosting, the survey said. Fifteen percent of firms said cloud computing could boost processing and distribute their workload, 11 percent said it could help with data backup, and eight percent wanted it for application hosting.
Of those firms that have avoided cloud computing, a quarter said concern over cost was the main factor, 14 percent worried that the advantages were unproven, and 15 percent feared reliability problems. One in 10 firms had security and compliance concerns that prevented them from changing their setup.
Lew Moorman, chief strategy officer at Rackspace Hosting, the cloud hosting supplier that commissioned the research, said the technology could offer useful cost savings, but it was “vital” that businesses understood the concept before embarking on change.
"Cloud is going to be the hot business topic for 2009 and it is not just IT folk that will need to understand the benefits it brings but people across the business," he said. Rackspace said it had set up a ‘cloud clinic’ online, containing guidance for firms wanting to use the service.