From multinational corporations to one-person businesses, it seems everybody's moving to the cloud.
The numbers certainly confirm this trend: 69% of global data traffic will shift to new-style 'cloud data centres' by 2017, according to the Cisco Systems Global Cloud Index.
Customer relationship management (CRM) is at the forefront of the cloud boom. Up to 40% of CRM systems sold in 2013 were cloud-based, according to Gartner. So, if you're still lagging behind, is it because you're unsure about some aspects of the cloud?
If so, here are the four biggest myths about cloud CRM systems:
1. Your data won't be secure
Small and medium-sized businesses often lack the internal resources to implement adequate security measures. However, the same companies are often concerned that the cloud will expose their data to greater threats.
Moving to the cloud does mean putting your faith in a third party. However, cloud providers are able to implement sophisticated firewalls, security protocols and data encryption. It's unlikely that most smaller companies could protect an in-house system to the same level.
2. You can suffer uncontrollable outages
A survey conducted by Maximizer Software in 2013 revealed that 71% of small and medium-sized businesses fear outages and disruptions if they move to the cloud.
In reality, however, a large, dedicated service provider is much less likely to suffer breakdowns than a small, in-house IT department.
3. Small businesses can't afford the cloud
It's not just large corporations that can afford cloud technologies. Operating in the cloud can also cut costs for many small and medium-sized companies.
This is because no expensive infrastructure is required, security is largely handled for you - and costs for IT staff, power and maintenance are reduced.
4. The cloud means changing business processes
Many companies fear that moving to the cloud will affect their business for the worse. While it might take a little while to adapt to a new cloud system, over time it can pay dividends.
Improved collaboration, easier data access, convenient offsite working and new ways of tapping into business intelligence can all result from moving to the cloud.
So yes, you have to change some processes. But those changes should be for the better.
Of course, it pays to be cautious before adopting any new technology platform. However, sooner or later the cloud will become a reality for most of us. Why lag behind?
Copyright © 2014, Mike Richardson, managing director for EMEA at Maximizer Software.