A new survey by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) suggests that 14 million adult Australians have accessed "cloud computing" services. However, a closer look at the data suggests that only a tiny proportion of them are fully taking advantage of cloud technologies.
Cloud picture from Shutterstock
ACMA's Cloud Computing In Australia report notes that of that number, the vast majority — 12.2 million — were using a webmail service such as Gmail or Outlook.com.
As we noted in our Cloud 101 summary earlier this year, anything deserving the label of "cloud" should be elastic and scalable. Consumer email platforms don't offer that flexibility. (Yes, you can move from Gmail to Google Apps For Business, but that means you'll often lose some features while gaining others.)
None of this is to say that people using cloud email is a bad thing: it offers many of cloud computing's benefits (such as multi-device access and automated backup). But the fact a manager uses Hotmail does not mean they understand cloud architecture, a point that ACMA itself underlines in the report:
Active use of cloud computing services is significantly higher than levels of awareness, with 55 per cent of the total adult population estimated to have heard of the term ‘cloud computing’, while only 26 per cent of active cloud-computing users were aware they had used a cloud service.