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Most small businesses use three or more Clouds

Research by SMEStorage, a London-based multi-cloud data access provider, shows that on average most small businesses use more than three information clouds, or more than five when email and social network clouds are included.

SMEStorage polled 1000 of its users to understand how many information clouds they use, and also to understand the challenges that they face. Amazon S3 was the most popular storage cloud used for business. Google Docs was the most popular used for documents closely followed by Microsoft SkyDrive.

Of those polled 91 per cent used some form of file server, file store, or stored data only on their PC or laptop. The biggest challenges identified for moving this data to the cloud were availability, security, and speed of access.

A majority of users polled also had two or more email clients — one or more for personal use and one for work. Asked how much file based information they believed was stored in their email clients over 70 per cent of respondents answered that the amount of file information stored in email was 'substantial' and 'important'.

The majority of users used at least one social network cloud with 45 per cent using two or more and 37 per cent using at least two. The most popular social network with respondents was LinkedIn, followed by Facebook. The most popular combination was LinkedIn and FaceBook, with the second most popular combination being LinkedIn and Twitter. Evernote was also used by 27 per cent of respondents.

The most important information stored in social-network clouds that respondents identified was contact information, with the second most important was identified as photos.

Only two per cent of respondents had attempted any form of backup of social network information although 67 per cent said they believe it is important to do so. Contact information was outlined as the most important thing to back up.

The top benefits respondents identified for the use of Cloud for the majority of their data were: Desktop tooling/ease of use; 'On the move' access from different devices; security and safety of data; availability and speed.