There is currently no better time for businesses to be investing in cloud computing. In the wake of the recession there remains an acute need to minimize costs whilst driving productivity and growth as investment and competition returns to the market.

Although there is still limited awareness and much caution towards cloud computing, the realisation is beginning to spread as to the huge potential to be had from services in the cloud. At the start of the year, Gartner predicted that in just two years time, 20% percent of businesses will have no ownership of IT assets, fueled by developments in cloud computing and virtualization, and the increased ownership of hardware assets by third parties.

Cloud computing is set to be a huge leveler for small businesses in particular, who can now ‘rent’ technology on a pay per user subscription basis, giving them the flexibility to upscale and downscale as the need requires and for the first time, giving small businesses access to enterprise-class solutions at an affordable rate. It has been well documented throughout the last 18 months that small businesses hold an enormous responsibility and potential to drive growth across the wider market place – and it is now being recognised that cloud computing will be the clear path in achieving this success.

So why is pick up still slow in the small business space? Many small business owners don’t have the financial backing or headcount for an IT department or manager and will be involved in all aspects of the operational side of the business, including IT. For this reason, small businesses more often than not, don’t invest the time in finding the right IT solutions for their needs and instead just settling for the ‘make do’ mentality with outdated on premise solutions, as they struggle to juggle all aspects of running the business and driving growth. There is still the perception that upgrading IT systems will incur a huge cost but the advent of cloud computing means that cost need no longer be a barrier.

With the cloud market among small businesses predicted to grow to nearly $19 billion by 2013, there is also an enormous opportunity for Service Providers to profit from the cloud – in providing full-fledged IT services and a much improved time to market for Shared Web Hosting Services; Messaging and Collaboration; Virtualized Infrastructure Services (VPS); and SaaS solutions for small businesses.

As we enter a new post recession market, those smart businesses are starting the apprehend that they cannot afford to ignore the benefits to be had from cloud based services, in helping them innovate, optimize and grow their business through flexible, reliable and mobile solutions.