For some business professionals who are used to software that is locally hosted, the cloud may seem like a daunting, unbridled place where one is never sure about the security of his or her data. A recent survey by Microsoft reveals that Singapore has many people who think like the aforementioned.

Involving 2,017 Microsoft partners in 11 countries across Asia Pacific, the survey sought to find out the most common misconceptions about cloud services still prevalent among customers. The data signals the need for greater awareness of the benefits cloud services provide, and has driven Microsoft Singapore to step up efforts to reduce barriers to cloud adoption among companies in the city-state.

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In the online survey, Microsoft’s partners ranked the misconceptions most commonly brought up by their customers and prospects about the cloud; 125 respondents were from Singapore.

The top five myths are:

  1. Lack of privacy
  2. Not secure
  3. Not mature
  4. No ownership
  5. Being less productive offline

Other misconceptions centred around cost and reliability, the lack of value-add compared to software hosted on-site, and that it is too complicated with an unclear return on investment.

“These myths prevent organizations from becoming more agile and from having a cost-effective way to improve productivity in a new world of work, where employees are demanding more flexibility, more mobility and who collaborate better with social tools,” said Gerald Leo, Business Group Lead, Microsoft Office Division, Microsoft Singapore.

Drew Graham, Director and Chief Technology Officer of cloud computing firm eVantage Technology, shared that cloud computing often generates polarised viewpoints among customers, and those against the idea of the technology are usually concerned about data security and privacy.

“We try to get our clients to assess the situation objectively, by comparing cloud computing options to the on-premise solutions they use today, and try to highlight how public cloud solutions may, in many circumstances be more secure, and less likely to experience data breaches than their current system,” said Graham, adding, “Sometimes, shifting the conversation to the potential cost savings the customer can achieve with cloud computing can be effective as it provides a more objective basis to evaluate the potential benefits of moving to the cloud.”

Further insights from Singapore respondents include:

  • 40 per cent (versus 46 per cent in Asia Pacific) frequently (daily or at least once a week) encounter decision-makers who have relatively little understanding of cloud services
  • 57 per cent already have more than 10 per cent of their business focused on cloud services
  • The majority agreed that Gen-Y decision makers are more knowledgeable of the benefits of cloud than other business decision-makers in general.

In response to these insights, Microsoft asserts that it is working to debunk each of these myths through education via a webcast and providing access to resources for its cloud platform, Office 365. An example of such information Microsoft provides can be found here.

That said, these insights hold true for cloud services in general, not just for Microsoft’s Office 365. Cloud providers in Singapore will do well to remember these lessons and seek to educate their customers on the common misconceptions of cloud services, especially so given that IDC predicts spending on public cloud services in Singapore to grow from US$411m in 2013 to US$919m in 2017.

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Image credit: ra2studio / Shutterstock