The use of cloud services by Australian consumers and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) increased 11 percent in 2013 over 2012, according to a report released by the Australian Communications and Media Authority on Tuesday.
The report examines use and perceptions of cloud services by both consumers and SMEs in Australia. Similar to what was found in a recent Microsoft study, security is a concern when considering cloud adoption.
While cloud adoption has increased, there is still room for improvement regarding awareness of cloud computing among consumers and businesses. Eighty percent of the adult Australian population uses cloud services, and 44 percent of SMEs use cloud services. However, only 55 percent of the population reports knowing the term “cloud computing” even though they use the services.
Both consumers and businesses recognize the benefits of cloud services. Being able to access information from multiple devices, keeping data safe in the event of device failure and freeing space from their devices were identified as positives. Negatives included concern for data security and lack of trust in service providers. Lack of security was a concern for over half of the respondents, followed by a lack of trust in service providers, and reliability of service.
An interesting point from this report is that many users of cloud services don’t even realize they are using them. For example, many Australians use iTunes or webmail but don’t think of them as cloud services. There seems to be a lack of knowledge as to what cloud is in the marketplace. Users with higher awareness of cloud computing correlated with more cloud services being used.
Small businesses were more likely to use free services while 31 percent of medium businesses used paid services. With only 17 percent of consumer users paying for services, education and increasing awareness of cloud services is an area that could provide increased revenue for service providers with both businesses and individual users.
In addition to awareness and education, there are other factors to support growth in the Australian market. Infrastructure is improving through NBN and 4G mobile networks. The report lists Telstra,who was recently announced as a Cisco partner, as one of the top cloud providers in Australia. Telstra announced in 2011 that it would invest $800 million in infrastructure over the next 5 years.
Other growth opportunities for service providers include government spending on cloud services, increase in consumer wireless devices and more competition. Based on this report, cloud service providers should focus their efforts on educating the public and SMEs about cloud computing, creating a strong security environment and building brand trust to generate more business and revenue.