Consumers recognize cloud benefits despite lack of knowledge

    When it comes to cloud computing, American consumers largely don't understand what it is used for. According to a recent survey conducted by Wakefield Research for Citrix, the majority of over 1,000 Americans did not know what "the cloud" referred to. Even regular users of the cloud did not realize they access it every day.

    When asked what the cloud is, only 16 percent of respondents immediately associated it with the service IT departments use to store data. The majority associated the term with clouds in the sky. Although most people did not know what it does, some respondents (22 percent) admitted to pretending to know how the cloud works while 14 percent even faked knowledge on a job interview.

    After being informed of the cloud's capabilities, 68 percent recognized the economic benefits it can provide businesses, which include lowered costs, increased interaction with consumers and small business growth.

    Cloud is used daily

    Based on the survey, 54 percent of respondents believe they have never used the cloud. Ninety-five percent of those, however, actually use cloud services on a daily basis. The most popular uses for a cloud server include online banking (65 percent), online shopping (63 percent), social media (58 percent) and online gaming (45 percent).

    "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 Citrix Vice President of Corporate Marketing Kim DeCarlis.

    Consumers fake cloud knowledge

    Despite the benefits, Americans still worry about implementing the cloud into a business environment. Even though experts say the cloud is cost-effective because users can store data for a monthly rate, 34 percent cited the cost as a deterrent. Thirty-two percent of those surveyed were concerned about security and 31 percent were nervous about privacy. Consumers should know that there are security measures a person can take to prevent possible cloud breaches, including utilizing passwords and encryption.

    The survey reaffirms that the cloud is changing business practices. Fifty-nine percent of respondents even said that the cloud is the "workplace of the future." Although cloud security is a major concern, businesses should take advantage of the opportunities the cloud offers, including online marketing and using a business VoIP phone system.

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