Clutch spoke with Viktor Bogdanov, head of marketing and PR at Intersog, as part of a series of interviews about small business cloud storage usage.Learn more about Intersog on their Clutch profile or at Intersog.com.
Could you describe the company where you work and your role there?
I am head of marketing and PR at Intersog, a Chicago-based software development company with delivery centers in Ukraine. Intersog provides custom-built solutions and guidance for e-healthcare, big data, the Internet of Things (IoT), Cloud, and mobility.
Clutch's 2015 Small Business Cloud Storage Survey
Finding #1: 48% of small businesses have not adopted cloud storage yet.
What is your reaction to this finding?
Frankly speaking, I’m a bit surprised with this figure. Physical servers are very expensive to own and maintain, and private or public cloud storage can save businesses, especially small- to medium-sized businesses (SMB), a lot of money that could be used to improve operations or become more innovative.
Using disk-to-disk, disk-to-disk-to-tape, and disk-to-disk-to-optical storage platforms is an old-school method that proves to be unsecure and unreliable.
I’m really perplexed that such a high percentage of small businesses are still lagging behind when it comes to cloud adoption.
In your opinion, what factors contribute to the large proportion of small businesses that do not use cloud storage yet?
I think the key factors are security concerns and a lack of understanding about cloud capabilities. Many small businesses don’t have enough confidence in cloud security and are afraid their corporate data will be leaked or violated.
Also, if we’re speaking about non-technological companies, their leadership may just be lacking awareness and/or understanding of the Cloud’s potential and how it can benefit their business continuity.
Finding #2: Small businesses identified Dropbox as the most popular cloud storage service provider, followed by Google Drive, Apple iCloud, and Microsoft OneDrive.
Do you have any insight into Dropbox’s popularity over other services?
Intersog is actually a Google-driven company, and we use a lot of Google services within the organization, including Google Drive, Mailbox, Analytics, sites for internal corporate knowledge base, etc.
One of Google Drive’s best features that can’t be found in Dropbox is the ability to upload files directly from the web browser, which is very convenient. However, I’ve seen in many cloud storage comparison charts that Dropbox is much faster than Google Drive and other cloud storage services. This may be a reason why small businesses prefer Dropbox over the other vendors.
What should a small business consider before selecting a cloud storage service provider?
Small businesses should consider many different factors.
- Cost of service and storage scalability
- Speed of upload-download capabilities
- Reliability of service, such as the average uptime and downtime of events
- Device and OS support
- Third party integration
- Backup and recovery capabilities
- Wealth of features available
Finding #3: The most satisfactory cloud storage service provider, based on its Net Promoter Score (NPS – willingness to recommend), is Apple iCloud, followed by Dropbox, Google Drive, and Microsoft OneDrive.
Do you have any insight into why small businesses are so willing to recommend Apple iCloud to peers and/or colleagues?
Unlike other cloud storage services, such as Google Drive or Microsoft OneDrive, Apple iCloud provides the least amount of free storage – 5GB versus 15GB in Google Drive and OneDrive – and charges $19.99 per month for 1TB of storage, while Google Drive, Dropbox, and OneDrive charge $9.99 per month for the same space. Also, iCloud is deeply tied to the Apple devices and needs major improvements when it comes to integration with Windows and other platforms.
I think this finding can be attributed to the fact that Apple’s devices, especially the iPhone and iPad, have established a solid footprint in the US corporate world over the last five years, and many small businesses are fond of iCloud simply because they use Apple devices at the corporate level.
Do you have any insight into why Amazon did not make the list of satisfactory services?
Amazon offers the best price for unlimited storage space – only $60 per year –compared to other major Cloud storage providers; yet, it doesn’t offer local syncing capabilities, which, I believe, is the biggest impediment to corporate adoption. In our dynamic world no one really wants to grab a file they need to access and then manually re-upload it to Amazon Cloud Drive when they’re done editing it. It’s just a matter of usability and time saving.
However, Amazon provides great enterprise-level solutions, including cloud storage, but I guess most of features it offers are just not needed by small companies.
Finding #4: The majority of small businesses began using cloud storage after 2011, and there has been a steady increase in adoption since then.
What factors motivate a business to adopt cloud storage?
A few factors come to mind, including
- Reduced cost of hardware
- Increased data security
- Broader accessibility of information stored on the Cloud
- Better ability to leverage the power of big data
What events do you believe caused the steady increase in adoption of cloud storage since 2011?
Well, Cloud only started to pick up steam in 2011 or a bit earlier, so I guess it’s logical that companies have been increasing their Cloud adoption exponentially over these years.
Have you noticed this trend occurring with your clients or in your experience?
Sure. Each year we [Intersog] receive more and more client requests for cloud data storage services and provide each client with either the storage of their choice or one that is best tailored to their project team’s needs. Besides Google Drive, we offer Amazon S3 and Microsoft OneDrive, among others.
Finding #5: Nearly half, 48%, of the respondents use a mobile device to access data stored on the Cloud.
What is your reaction to this finding?
It’s a very logical finding if you consider the key goals of Cloud: remote use, ubiquitous accessibility, and security.
What kinds of activities do you think small businesses are doing most frequently with the Cloud on mobile?
Small businesses most likely use a mobile device for accessing corporate files, working with spreadsheets and documents, and collaborating with colleagues.
I think the power of mobile is so great now because it enables businesses to do almost anything, whereas only a couple years ago, they were limited to a PC only.
Finding #6: The top task small businesses use cloud storage to accomplish is backup, followed by access to files across multiple devices and collaboration.
What is your reaction to backup being the first priority activity over collaboration?
Cloud backup, recovery, and restoration solutions integrate well with corporate IT environments by locating and prioritizing files for backup and then transmitting encrypted copies of data securely to offsite data centers. Cloud storage allows for a significant reduction in the total cost of ownership, as compared to the purchase and maintenance of robust backup systems.
Small businesses can take advantage of cloud backup capabilities to save a significant amount of money.
As for collaboration, many SMBs, especially the non-tech ones, don’t have large teams that need to collaborate on documents. They likely are still using old-school ways of collaboration, such as sending files to colleagues via email or through customer relationship management (CRM) systems.
Task prioritization is a matter of corporate culture and many small businesses are not tech-savvy enough to leverage the power of Cloud.
Finding #7: Over half, 61%, of small businesses need to be compliant (i.e. HIPAA, PCI, ISO) for Cloud storage implementation.
Does this finding, especially in the small business community, surprise you?
No, not at all. Data storage compliance is actually having a tremendous impact on data discovery, integrity, retention, certification, and destruction across many industries. Besides the compliances included in your survey, there are over 10,00 regulations that affect how companies store, backup, and protect their data.
For instance, in the healthcare industry or managed services, compliance imposes additional management overhead on IT departments and adds additional workload to the monitoring, reporting, and auditing tasks that are required to support cloud storage. Many businesses, including SMBs, now have to prove that their cloud storage solution complies with regulations.
In your opinion, how important is it for cloud storage providers to include built-in compliance?
The importance of compliance depends on the industry. It’s definitely of critical importance for healthcare or legal service providers, but it may not be that important for digital media or advertising agencies.
Benefits of Small Business Cloud Storage Usage
In what ways would using cloud storage benefit a small business?
Cloud storage could benefit a small business in many ways. Some examples include,
- Reduced disaster recovery costs
- Decreased cost of owning physical servers or disk-to-disk, disk-to-disk-to-tape, and disk-to-disk-to-optical storage platforms
- Improved flexibility for data sharing and collaboration
Are there ways in which using cloud storage could hurt a small business?
When companies start using cloud storage services without checking if the provider has the correct compliance for the company’s industry data management regulations, risks arise. The company could face significant challenges, such as data breaches, or face additional costs when they have to migrate their data to an alternative storage provider that provides the right level of compliance.
Future Trends in Small Business Cloud Storage Usage
What trends in small business adoption and usage of cloud storage services do you foresee in the next year?
As big data becomes an inevitable part of smart decision making and goes mainstream across all industries in 2016 and beyond, small businesses will have to deploy, customize, or build their corporate big data tools and platforms from scratch in order to stay competitive.
Managing big data in the physical environment will be too expensive and cumbersome, so the Cloud will become (and already is) the most appropriate hub for any big data initiatives. So, I believe more small businesses will be rushing to the Cloud if they intend to translate their raw data into valuable insights and business intelligence.
Did you find Clutch’s study, as a whole, useful and/or interesting?
Sure. The survey provides some great thought-provoking insights that any cloud vendor can use to refine and improve its offerings for small businesses, especially in terms of compliance regulations and security.