Cloud computing can offer benefits to small firms in the very areas they are worried it might threaten.
Most small businesses are now using cloud computing in one form or other, but others have not yet made the transition because they are unsure of its security and privacy.
This is the discovery of a new survey by analytics firm comScore, which also found that these fears are likely to be unfounded because of the high standard of today’s technology offerings.
Some 52 per cent of respondents who were not yet using the cloud said this is because they are concerned about data protection and reliability.
However, 94 per cent of cloud users told the researchers they had already begun to experience security benefits when compared to the systems they had been using before.
The study, carried out on companies with between 25 and 499 PC users on-site, found that 58 per cent cited a need for fewer internal IT resources as a key benefit, while 49 per cent explained they had been able to save time on managing IT.
Although 45 per cent of non-cloud users felt they would not have control over their data if they made the transition, the majority of those already making the most of it said this was not the case. In fact, they were generally very pleased with the privacy protection and ability to manage information remotely.
All of these plus points meant most small businesses were able to save money by using the cloud, which could then be pumped back into their organisations for the future.
Better disaster recovery capabilities were also highlighted by those polled, as 93 per cent of users were confident that services would be quickly restored if there was some kind of outage.
Adrienne Hall from Microsoft, which commissioned the research, told Computer Weekly: "The results show the perception gap closes quickly once people experience cloud services. Once businesses adopt cloud services, the benefits outweigh concerns, and this is consistent across similar studies in France, Germany and the US."
It comes after FixYa chief executive Yaniv Bensadon told CNet that the cloud can significantly boost productivity, as employees are better able to share documents and collaborate with each other on projects.