Study: Cloud cluelessness doesn't hinder appreciation

There is no doubt that cloud computing is experiencing significant hype in the private sector and IT industry. The same cannot be said for the consumer market, however, as the majority of people have no idea what the cloud is and the limit to its potential.

A new study conducted by Wakefield Research on behalf of Citrix found that approximately 29 percent of Americans said the cloud was somehow related to weather, while only 16 percent said it had something to do with computers. Another third of respondents said they believe the cloud is a thing of the future, despite the fact that roughly 97 percent are using cloud services today when they shop online, use social networks and share files.

"This survey clearly shows that the cloud phenomenon is taking root in our mainstream culture, yet there is still a wide gap between the perceptions and realities of cloud computing," said Kim DeCarlis, vice president of corporate marketing at Citrix.

Misunderstanding doesn't mean it's unappreciated

Despite a lack of understanding about the cloud, many Americans still see the potential benefits from using the technology. The survey found that more than two-thirds of respondents recognized the advantages of using cloud services after learning more about it. Roughly 35 percent agreed that the cloud could reduce IT expenses, while 32 percent said it has the potential to spur small business growth. Another 35 percent of Americans said the cloud is also likely to boost customer engagement and satisfaction.

"While significant market changes like this take time, the transition from the PC era to the cloud era is happening at a remarkable pace," DeCarlis said. "The most important takeaway from this survey is that the cloud is viewed favorably by the majority of Americans and when people learn more about the cloud they understand it can vastly improve the balance between their work and personal lives."

A separate report by IDG Research found that the use of cloud storage and other services among IT decision-makers resulted in 73 percent being satisfied with the cloud because of its ability to enable greater levels of flexibility, while 71 percent said the enhanced scalability was a significant benefit.

Since the cloud market is still relatively infantile, the technology is slightly misunderstood. As it matures, however, more people around the world will become familiar with cloud computing and appreciate its full potential.

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