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Public still hazy on cloud computing, survey finds

 Two in five say they have little or no understanding of Cloud


January 2013

As Cloud computing continues to take the business world by storm, new research has found that the public’s understanding of ‘the Cloud’ is still poor, some five years after the term became widely used in the IT industry.


A new survey from Webfusion – one of the UK’s biggest hosting groups, polled more than 1,000 of the general public to gauge their understanding of what the Cloud meant in the context of computing. The research found that almost two in five (38 per cent) said that they had little or no understanding of the term, while only a third (34 per cent) said they were confident that they knew what it meant.


Although the poll found that ‘cloudy’ applications such as file hosting services similar to Dropbox, email services like Hotmail or Gmail, or online music hosting such as iTunes were each seen as cloud services by around 30 per cent of the population, a similar proportion did not recognize these to be Cloud. A much smaller proportion (15.7 per cent) said that scalable hosting across multiple servers counted as a cloud service.


Responding to the findings Thomas Vollrath, CEO of Webfusion’s parent company Host Europe Group, said that the results validated the marketing approaches of the brands mentioned in the survey questions, and pointed the way for other consumer services looking to increase their market share.


“The word ‘Cloud’ is a nebulous one at the best of times, and it can mean a whole host of discrete things to different people,” said Vollrath. “However, the term itself – and its underlying message of bringing lower costs and greater flexibility to IT – is only really relevant to businesses.


“The research shows that providers of online services to the consumer market should be very wary of using the word ‘cloud’,” continued Vollrath. “Most users don’t understand the technicalities of what defines a Cloud service, and probably care even less. All they want is innovative applications that give a great user experience on a variety of personal devices, and consumer marketers should concentrate on those messages.


“Cloud remains strictly a business term, but even then I would argue that it is just as important – perhaps more so – to focus on the specific benefits of the service that you provide. Telling a business owner or MD that you can significantly lower their hosting costs and improve availability is usually a much more compelling message than simply to rely on the cachet of Cloud,” he concluded.



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About Webfusion 

Established in 1997, Webfusion is one of the UK’s leading web hosting groups. Offering cost-effective, feature-rich hosting packages for its diverse customer base – including everyone from web developers, designers and hobbyists to businesses with complex e-commerce operations – its customers benefit from market-leading security and service.  Features include: 24/7 technical support; managed and cloud hosting; robust Firewall server protection; one click installation; access to FTP accounts and a state-of-the-art data centre.

Webfusion is also part of the Host Europe Group, the largest privately-owned hosting company in Europe, and a Sunday Times Deloitte Buyout Track 100 company. With 5.5 million domains in the group portfolio and over 1 million customers, the Host Europe Group also includes 123-reg,  Heart Internet and  Host Europe and has a strong International market presence in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Spain. Become a fan of Webfusion on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.