5 Facts About The Cloud You Probably Didn’t Know

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(This post originally appeared on Inc.)

If you’re running a small or mid-sized business (SMB), you’re likely using some sort of cloud-based applications. For many of my clients, the concept of leaving data in someone else’s hands was a little disconcerting at first. But most are coming around. So, now that you’re more fully embracing the cloud, here are five things you probably didn’t know about it!

1. Software as a Service (SaaS) generates more than half of cloud computing revenue.

Research firm IDC estimates that the worldwide market will be nearly $200 billion in a few years, with the U.S. responsible for about two-thirds of that spending. Three primary software markets: applications as a service, system infrastructure software (SIS) as a service (which combine to form SaaS), and application development and deployment (AD&D) or platform as a service (PaaS), were responsible for 83.7 percent of all public cloud revenue in 2015. Infrastructure as a service (IaaS) generated the remaining 16.3 percent. Most software companies I know are devoting the lion’s share of their research towards cloud-based applications and away from old school, on-premises, client-server solutions.

 2. SMBs that move to the cloud typically doubled profits and achieved 25 percent revenue growth.

A 2015 study by business software firm Exact and Pb7 Research found that small businesses are reaping big bottom-line benefits, including profit and revenue growth. Small companies are turning to the cloud for increased security, lower IT costs, and enhanced mobile access. Fifty-one percent of U.S. the study’s respondents claimed to use at least some kind of cloud software in their business and nearly 30 percent of U.S. small businesses said they use three or more cloud applications to get work done.

3. New cloud solutions are giving SMBs powerful analytics options.

Harnessing the power of data is important for any business, but can be difficult for SMBs that don’t have access to data scientists. In forecasting 2016 trends, SMB technology research firm SMB Group says that nearly half (48 percent) small businesses that plan to purchase or upgrade their analytics solutions will purchase cloud-based options like IBM’s Watson Analytics or Tableau’s Vizable. These powerful tools distill data into easy to understand, usable formats like charts and graphs. Such tools allow businesses to spot trends and even extend offers based on predictive models.

4. SMBs consider cloud backup more secure than on-site backup.

A 2016 survey by research firm Clutch found that a whopping 90 percent of SMBs using online backup services say they are equally or more secure than on-site backup. Twenty-four percent ranked cloud solutions “much more secure” than on-site backup, and nearly 40 percent cite security as a top benefit of using cloud-based backup.

 5. Private and hybrid clouds are gaining traction.

Private and hybrid clouds are more complex to manage, but could see adoption jump 100 percent in the SMB sector, according to research firm TechAisle. Private and hybrid options offer greater flexibility for growing businesses over public cloud options, which win when it comes to ease of use. Integrating a hybrid cloud strategy into your growing business, may take some professional help, but could enhance your ability to scale and adapt your cloud-based options.

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