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Sharp: Employees failed by cloud drought in SMBs

Employers at small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are failing to provide their workers with the cloud-based tools they believe they need to carry out their work effectively, according to new research.

More than 1,500 office workers from the UK, Sweden, Germany and the Netherlands took part in the research, which analysed the use of cloud-based technologies by companies.

Half of the workers surveyed claimed that increased collaboration between firms and workers would help to make businesses more profitable, while even more believed that it would make them more efficient in their work.

Chris Hale, Sharp's UK product manager for software solutions, has claimed that SMBs' inability to keep up with employee demands could provoke a system of 'shadow IT', whereby employees resort to using unsecured cloud-technology in order to complete the requirements of their jobs.

Sharp is set to launch its own cloud product called Cloud Portal Office, which Hale believes will address these concerns and prevent a shadow IT system developing amongst 'generation cloud' - those workers that use their own devices to access cloud-based tools.

"This addresses one of the key concerns SMBs have when it comes to using the cloud – namely that their private data could be accessed by foreign governments," Hale told Cloud Pro.

"These concerns have been exacerbated by revelations about the American National Security Agency's (NSA) communications monitoring activities, which is why we ensure customer data never leaves the EU."

Neil Pickering, UK marketing manager for workforce management software and services specialist Kronos, claimed last month that SMBs must look to the cloud to unlock their workforce's potential.

"As well as controlling costs and reducing budget, it is possible for cloud solutions to also drive workforce efficiency, improve productivity and enable better employee engagement," Pickering said.