By Daniel Hunter

Over 1.1 million small to medium sized enterprises (SMEs) are unaware they can make significant savings on their IT energy footprint by moving their business into the cloud, according to new research by energy company, E.ON.

The study surveyed SMEs in business, professional, finance and property services and exposed a severe lack of knowledge of available cloud-related energy efficiencies that ultimately impact the bottom line. Cloud computing allows SMEs to only pay for the computing power they use with the ability to scale requirements up or down as needed — crucially without the need of additional physical servers.

Energy savings are therefore inherent with the cloud as fewer machines equate to greater electricity savings. Yet despite the significant savings available with this technology, over a third (39%) of SMEs admitted to not even knowing what the cloud is.

With the findings revealing 60% of SMEs are concerned by their energy expenditure, E.ON is on a mission to get British businesses energy fit by providing the tools and advice to better understand the amount of electricity they consume, how to cut bills and save energy.

Revealing a lack of foresight when it comes to business growth, less than a third (30%) of SMEs consider the impact on energy costs when making business plans.

Cloud knowledge by industry sector:

· SMEs in property services were the least knowledgeable regarding cloud computing, with only a quarter (25%) admitting to knowing what it is, compared to over three quarters (77%) of those in business services who were aware;

· Surprisingly SMEs in the finance sector are the least savvy when it comes to financial savings — a meagre 3% were aware they can save up to 90% on their IT energy footprint by moving their business into the cloud.

“Energy is a hot topic for UK SMEs and it’s clear they are unaware of the energy saving solutions available to them," Iain Walker, Head of Business Sales at E.ON, said.

"By adopting cloud computing, small businesses are in a win-win situation, they will be able to improve their productivity through its flexible approach and will benefit from savings on their IT energy expenditure.”

Phil McCabe, senior policy adviser at the Forum of Private Business, added his support.

“As with other green technologies, it is important business owners realise that embracing cloud computing can significantly reduce bottom line costs as well as their energy footprint," he said.

“Using the internet rather than physical servers is a flexible and effective way of managing accounts and other paperwork, for example helping businesses to adhere to HM Revenue & Custom’s record-keeping guidelines, sidestepping the aggravation and cost of more traditional business accounting systems.”

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