Americans Think Cloud Computing Comes From Actual Clouds

    August 29, 2012
    Zach Walton
    Comments are off for this post.

Cloud computing has been on the minds of everybody in the tech industry for the past few years. The infrastructure has been slowly growing, but 2012 has seen tremendous growth in the sector. All the major tech companies now offer some form of cloud storage and computing for consumers and businesses. Even though it’s everywhere, Americans still don’t really grasp it.

A recent survey of 1,000 Americans was conducted by Wakefield Research for Citrix. The results suggest that Americans like to think they’re on top of the latest innovations in cloud computing, but in reality know little about it. Unfortunately, even more people think that the cloud is tied to the weather in some way.

To get the embarrassing statistics out of the way first, the survey found that 51 percent of respondents believe that stormy weather can interfere with cloud computing. A plurality of respondents (29 percent) also think that the cloud is an actual cloud. A paltry 16 percent actually knew what the cloud was.

“This survey clearly shows that the cloud phenomenon is taking root in our mainstream culture, yet there is still a wide gap between the perceptions and realities of cloud computing,” said Kim DeCarlis, vice president of corporate marketing at Citrix. “While significant market changes like this take time, the transition from the PC era to the cloud era is happening at a remarkable pace. The most important takeaway from this survey is that the cloud is viewed favorably by the majority of Americans, and when people learn more about the cloud they understand it can vastly improve the balance between their work and personal lives.”

Even worse, it appears that we live in nation of cloud posers. The survey found that 22 percent of respondents pretend to know what the cloud is during everyday conversation. Most of the faking takes place during work, but strangely enough, 17 percent have pretended to have knowledge of the cloud during a first date. Let’s be honest here, your relationship is not going to last long if you have to brag about knowing what the cloud is during a date.

Cloud computing also shares a distinction with Linux. It’s everywhere, but people seem to think that they never use it. The survey found that 54 percent of respondents claimed to never use the cloud in their everyday lives, but 95 percent actually use something powered by the cloud everyday. Most of the cloud action comes from people using Facebook or online banking, but playing online games and file sharing are also big cloud activities.

What has this survey proven so far? Americans are pretty stupid when it comes to the cloud. Thankfully, even some divine intelligence can shine through the darkest clouds. The survey found that 68 percent of Americans see cloud computing as the future and the key to saving the economy. That may be taking the benefits of cloud computing a bit far, but it does show that Americans are warming up to the idea of pushing businesses and networks to the cloud.

Interestingly enough, 40 percent of respondents see the major advantage of the cloud is being able to work from home in the nude. I don’t know what kind of work they’re doing, but we can at least rest easy that the cloud enables them to do it from the privacy of their own home. Respondents also said the cloud helps them keep embarrassing videos off of their personal hard drive and allows sharing of files with people they’d rather not deal with in person.

Finally, respondents seem to grasp the major concerns that cloud computing still has to deal with. Thirty-four percent of respondents said that cost is the largest concern while security and privacy concerns follow closely at 32 and 31 percent respectively.

The future is inevitable. Everything is going to move to the cloud in one way or another. We’ll still have local storage solutions for a lot of data, but storage on the cloud is getting cheaper all the time. People will also soon become comfortable with the idea of storing their data on cloud servers as it’s far more convenient and sometimes more secure than local storage.

  • ck209

    Haha not a surprising finding at all. Good article however. I agree that the cloud is the future whether everyone likes it or not. From my personal experience with talking to people about cloud computing most people don’t understand it right off of the bat but after a few minutes realize they have already used cloud sharing/storage in one form or another. I recommend everyone to check out 4sync for personal or business use, 15gb of free storage.

  • http://www.rapidmarket.ca/ Jeff

    Decent summary Zach, too bad the survey itself was so bizarre and misguided.

    “Most of the cloud action comes from people using Facebook or online banking”. Really?

    Someone thinks banks use cloud computing for online banking? Because I’m pretty sure they don’t and never would. If you know of a single bank using cloud computing for online banking, I’d be fascinated to know who.

    As usual, this survey seems to have no grasp of what cloud computing is. Banks and Facebook use their own fully dedicated servers. That isn’t cloud computing. That’s regular, normal, typical computing.

    Cloud computing spreads everyone’s data across thousands of different systems, wherein none have the full scope of all the data by themselves. Kind of like how the FBI compartmentalizes data in pieces and gives individual agents only what they need to know at any time.

    That’s why it would, in theory, be secure: a hacker would never get a full set of data in any single attack or hijack because the data doesn’t all exist in one physical place, it’s stored across a “cloud” of hundreds/thousands of computers.

    It’s sad these so-called researchers didn’t know what they were researching.

  • http://zekeweeks.com @ZekeWeeks

    The majority is correct: stormy weather absolutely affects cloud computing: A big storm knocked out Amazon Web Services this June, knocking out many dependent services: Heroku (itself providing cloud infrastructure,) Instagram, Netflix…

    • compbiobryan

      Quite right!

      “… the majority of respondents (40 percent) …”
      “Majority” is defined as “More Than 50%”.

      “Most of the cloud action comes from people using Facebook or online banking,” Is that true? Don’t they use dedicated datacenters?
      I certainly hope my bank uses dedicated infrastructure.

    • Boone

      Since 29% think it is an actual cloud, I think you are being very generous allowing for a correlation between weather related disruptions.

  • Nate

    “A majority of respondents (29 percent) also think that the cloud is an actual cloud.”
    “the majority of respondents (40 percent) see the major advantage of the cloud is being able to work from home in the nude”

    Zach, it seems you don’t actually know what the meaning of “majority” is…. unless the totals in this survey only go up to 57%.

    • http://www.webpronews.com/author/zach-walton Zach Walton

      I realize I was a little unclear on that part. The majority in this case means the largest percentage who chose that answer. The majority was 29 percent because the other options had less than 20 percent each.

      • compbiobryan


        • http://www.webpronews.com/author/zach-walton Zach Walton

          Ah, yes, you are correct. That would be a much better choice of words here. Thanks for the correction!

  • http://www.yorkshirecloud.co.uk Jonathan

    Haha that awkward moment when someone pretends to know about Cloud computing just to stay in the conversation. We get that in the UK too. I don’t think it’s too big a deal that it’s not widely understood yet, the internet was probably similar. It’s going to be reported more and more by mainstream media which will clearly help the man on the street grasp the concept.

    @Jeff – good points, looks like a very misguided survey in places.

  • Jork

    Huh? 16% of people even know what the cloud is yet 60% think it’s the future? Your statistics are seriously retarded my friend.

    • http://www.webpronews.com/author/zach-walton Zach Walton

      You don’t have to know what something is to think it’s the future. A lot of people in the survey claimed to pretend to know about the cloud when they really knew nothing. That doesn’t mean they can’t think it’s the future. I don’t fully understand what’s going on at the LHC, but I think their work is going to impact our future in profound ways. I think it’s a similar feeling in this case.

      • Jork

        The set of survey results is so unreliable I can’t believe you even wrote an article on it. Retards who don’t know what cloud computing is think its the future.

        Dude seriously.

        • Jork

          Many people don’t know what’s happening at the LHC, but do know it has something to do with physics or our understanding of the universe, or something important.

          Your article has people who don’t even understand a term, and what it could possibly mean (although possibly something about weather? Hmmmmz) and post results that it could yet be the future of…. Something?

          Dude seriously

          • http://www.webpronews.com/author/zach-walton Zach Walton

            I see what you mean, but I think the larger picture is still important. A lot of people just see “the cloud” and realize they heard it on some news program. It’s a big buzzword these days and people are going to jump on board in claiming it’s the future, regardless of their knowledge on the subject. The numbers are a little suspect, but I think it paints a decent picture of where Americans are at now in their understanding of cloud computing.

      • http://www.conches.org Steve Wright

        This is a really weird article. It simultaneously mocks people for not know what cloud computing is while relying on them to claim that this thing they don’t know about is “the future”. It’s silly. Marketers spend a lot of time and money specifically to convince people that this is computing “in the clouds” and not with actual computers in an actual server farm. So mocking people for believing exactly what the industry wants them to believe is weird. As to “the future”, yes people think this totally amorphous thing that they keep hearing about will be around for a while. Again, silly.

  • Mr Z

    Zach Walton just said that; “Americans are pretty stupid when it comes to the cloud”. Well, Zach here’s to you chit hole and flips the bird at Zach Walton.

  • http://www.atlantic.net/ Atlantic.Net

    In 2012 alone, cloud computing has grown exponentially. In fast, Forrester Research predicted that the global cloud computing market will achieve $241 billion in 2020, compared to just $40.7 billion in 2010. Such rapid cloud market growth will encourage businesses to grow and adapt to the ever-changing market conditions, and hopefully allow more people to see that the cloud is not about stormy weather.

  • Genocidal eugenicist pricks all over USA

    Why the hell will I trust some company to store my most precious data? the cloud computing is not the future unless is forced by law, most people want to have their specially user generated content stuff on their devices, cloud computing is one of the ways the police genocidal eugenicist state/corporations what to commit their war crimes, worst of all, killing user generated content that is not aproved by the Law made by genocidal eugenicist pricks.

  • Alex


  • Jerry

    in all fairness stormy weather could affect an internet connection