It’s hard to believe, but many of the technologies we now find indispensable took a long time to catch on. I ran across this chart with some interesting examples. It took 40 years for refrigerators to reach most U.S. households, 30 years for color televisions, and 55 years for air conditioners. Makes you wonder how people did without.

Our receptivity to new technology has undoubtedly increased over the years. Cloud computing is a good example. Though a relative newcomer, it has gained traction quickly, particularly among small businesses. Recent research, including an AT&T survey highlighted the infographic below, shows a large majority of them now run at least part of their operations in the cloud.

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Why the rush to cloud services? I strongly believe the promise they hold for small businesses is so compelling that they’re not hesitating to try them out. Once they do, they’re not disappointed, as the data in the infographic shows.

In my last post, I explained how the cloud can help small businesses grow. Yet I would argue that another big part of its fast rise is that it can help businesses solve some of their most common problems—a theme elaborated by cloud expert Michael Hugos in this podcast.

One less thing to worry about

If you run a small business and everyone in your company wears five hats, who has time to think about data backup? If the answer is no one, raise your hand. The result is that backup occurs on a hit-or-miss basis, and sometimes not at all.

This may not be such a big deal—unless Mother Nature decides to pay an unpleasant visit. A 2012 AT&T survey of small and midsize companies found that about one in four had experienced a disaster or other interruption within the past two years. To help guard against such events, it makes sense to have your data backed up automatically and to store it away from your place of business. The great thing about the cloud is that your data gets saved on offsite servers whenever you hit the “enter” key.

Ease your security concerns

Small businesses frequently face problems with computer security, but who has the resources to hire a security expert? Most simply download an online scanning tool to identify malware and hope for the best.

Companies that offer cloud services have a vested interest in security, since their reputation depends on it. They hire professionals who do nothing but protect their systems, and their encryption tools are among the best in the business. They also store customer data on redundant servers, so if one goes down, others retain it.

In the AT&T survey on cloud usage, 92 percent of the respondents who use the cloud said it provided a level of security they couldn’t find elsewhere, and 98 percent said they were confident in the security of their data in the cloud.

If you’re already using the cloud to help solve your business challenges, I’d love to hear about your experiences. Please share them below.