The European Union's cloud computing strategycouldn't come at a
better time as the region lags behind the rest of the world when it
comes to cloud computing usage.
The EU announced its cloud computing strategy last month and is
optimistic it will create new jobs and help boost a struggling
An information campaign is necessary if the EU is to overturn the
misunderstanding and general lack of knowledge about the cloud.
A recent survey from BSA, The Software Alliance found only a
quarter of respondents used cloud services, compared to 34 per cent
globally. Nearly 4000 people were surveyed and the majority had
either never heard of cloud computing or had heard the term but
didn't know what it was.
While only 24 per cent of respondents said they used cloud services
compared to the majority, who didn't know what cloud computing was,
it turns out many were using cloud applications, they just didn't
realise it. Almost 90 per cent of cloud users accessed the cloud
for personal use only - mostly email - compared to under 30 per
cent who used it for business.
Europeans aren't the only ones with their head in the clouds over
cloud computing. Americans don't seem to be very clued up on it
either. A recent survey from software company Citrix uncovered some
pretty amusing misconceptions about the cloud.
Citrix's surveyed 1000 people and when asked what they thought
cloud computing was, the answers varied from clouds in the sky,
pillows, heaven, drugs and even toilet paper. More than half
thought bad weather could affect cloud computing. A fifth of those
surveyed even admitted they had pretended to know what the cloud
was. Just 16 per cent of respondents correctly answered that cloud
computing uses a computer network to store, access and share data
via the Internet.
Similarly to Europeans, many Americans are using cloud services
without even realising it. The majority said they had never used
cloud computing, but in fact the opposite was true; almost all of
those surveyed had used the cloud either for banking, online
shopping, social networking or file sharing.
While I wasn't able to find statistics on whether the general
public in Australia understands cloud computing, a recent survey of
small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) shows similarities to cloud
knowledge in the US and Europe.
The MYOB survey of 1000 SMBs found only 14 per
cent admitted to using the cloud for business. MYOB's CEO Tim Rees
said this was a surprising statistic considering the widespread use
of email, online banking and other cloud services. A quarter of
respondents said they hadn't moved any of their operations to the
cloud because they didn't know enough about it to make a decision.
Similar to the problem in the US and Europe, Rees said the
education campaign might need a rethink as businesses are still not
grasping the definition of cloud computing, let alone its
With the understanding of cloud computing still poor in Europe, the
US and Australia, we could probably assume it is a similar problem
globally. If education campaigns have so far produced limited
results, what do you think could be done to improve the general
understanding of cloud computing? What can be done to convince
individuals and companies to embrace the technology? Please
contribute your thoughts in the comments section below.