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Cloud Fails to Win Hearts & Minds of Consumers

by on May 20, 2010

Cloud computing–the ability to perform online functions typically in the domain of the desktop–has created a deafening buzz in corporate circles but consumers appear to be less than enamored with the technology. A recent Harris Interactive poll, for instance, revealed that 81 percent of Americans have security concerns about the cloud; concerns, we might add, shared with many IT professionals.

Businessman_cloud The survey taken in March 2010 of 2,340 U.S. adults also disclosed that only 25 percent of the respondents trusted the cloud with files containing personal information. In addition, more than half, 58 percent, didn’t believe files were safer in the cloud than stored on a local hard drive and 57 percent didn’t trust the safety of their files online.

Those concerns, though, don’t appear to have totally dampened consumers’ interest in the cloud. Nearly half, 47 percent, told surveyors they would be extremely or very interested in using the cloud for email, while another 19 percent would be somewhat interested.

Aside from email, however, interest in the cloud wanes, with 55 percent of respondents only somewhat or not at all interested in storing their photos in the cloud, 59 percent with a similar interest in stashing their music there, 61 percent in uploading photos, 63 percent in video and 69 percent in squirreling financial documents, like tax returns and bank records, in the nimbus.

Of course, recent privacy issues with consumer oriented services like Google and Facebook have helped the consumer cloud movement either.

Why should businesses be concerned about what consumers think about a technology that promises to deliver a heap of benefits to their organizations? Because in recent times, those consumers have had a profound impact on corporate IT departments. From personal computers to laptops to smartphones, consumer adoption fired adoption of those technologies in the office. If consumers aren’t confident with the cloud, it can bolster IT resistance to it, too.

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