Most Americans are confused by the term "the cloud" and do not associate it with the IT business, according to a recent survey. The survey of more than 1,000 American adults was conducted in August 2012 and shows that while the cloud is widely used, it is still misunderstood.
The national survey by Wakefield Research, commissioned by Citrix, showed that most respondents believe the cloud is related to weather, while some referred to pillows, drugs and toilet paper. However, even those who don't know exactly what the cloud is recognize its economic benefits and think the cloud is a catalyst for small-business growth, the survey showed.
Nearly one-third of respondents see the cloud as a thing of the future, yet 97 percent are actually using cloud services today via online shopping, banking, social networking and file sharing. Despite this confusion, three in five -- 59 percent -- said they believe the "workplace of the future" will exist entirely in the cloud.
When asked what "the cloud" is, only 16 percent of respondents said they think of a computer network to store, access and share data from Internet-connected devices.
The survey also showed that 68 percent of respondents said they recognize the economic benefits of cloud computing after learning more about the cloud. The most recognized benefits are that the cloud helps consumers by lowering costs (35 percent), spurs small-business growth (32 percent) and boosts customer engagement for businesses (35 percent). Millennials are most likely to believe that the cloud generates jobs (26 percent for Millennials, versus 19 percent for Boomers).
Despite these advantages, Americans still have reasons why they limit their use of cloud computing or avoid it entirely. Among those who hardly ever or never use the cloud, the top three deterrents are cost (34 percent), security concerns (32 percent) and privacy concerns (31 percent).