US companies have fewer doubts about cloud than UK firms.

    The ongoing proliferation of cloud computing is changing the enterprise, transforming everything from the business phone system to disaster recovery planning. As the private sector continues to feel the pressure to implement innovative solutions to reduce costs and improve operations, the cloud stands out above a number of other technologies for its ability to automate processes and enhance collaboration.

    Unfortunately, not all enterprises have the same perception of the cloud, as American firms are often more confident in the hosted environment than overseas counterparts. This was highlighted in a recent study by Vanson Bourne on behalf of Redwood Software.

    The survey polled responses from 200 U.S. enterprises and 100 U.K. businesses and found that Americans are often more inclined to use the cloud, neglecting the overhyped and ungrounded concerns about security and privacy.

    "American organizations seem to be worlds ahead in their knowledge, usage and confidence in the cloud," said Tijl Vuyk, CEO at Redwood Software. "What will be interesting to see is whether this is a sign of things to come for U.K. businesses and whether the perceived barriers to cloud adoption can be overcome."

    Why are American firms using the cloud?

    Although the cloud is often regarded as a way to reduce costs by eliminating the presence of on-site equipment, this is not the only advantage provided by the hosted service. In fact, 58 percent of U.S. businesses use the cloud to store private data, Vanson Bourne reported. This is because 47 percent of American decision-makers recognize the cloud's ability to manage capacity challenges with less trouble than traditional tools.

    A separate study by the Eastern Management Group echoed the importance of flexibility, especially when using a hosted phone system. In the past, companies would often suffer from dropped calls because of a network's inability to handle fluctuating traffic volumes. The advent of the cloud PBX resolved many of these issues because the environment can expand or contract on demand.

    Vanson Bourne found American companies also have different requirements for the cloud than their British counterparts. Approximately 71 percent of U.S. decision-makers said the benefits associated with improved agility represent the top reason for adopting the cloud, opposed to only 47 percent of U.K. respondents. Another 57 percent of U.S. firms said the cloud's fast return on investment was a major perk from implementing the technology, compared to only 36 percent of U.K. organizations.

    The Eastern Management Group noted that roughly 70 percent of businesses that have adopted a cloud-based office phone system are "very satisfied" with the technology, as it provides a number of unique advantages over competitors still using legacy solutions.

    In the coming years, decision-makers will need to consider replacing their old phone system with a cloud-enabled offering. Doing so will become crucial to remaining competitive with rival enterprises.