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.