Master of Commerce in Information Systems and Technology. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban 2015.This study investigates small and medium enterprises in the IT sector located within the province of Gauteng, to ascertain their perceptions on the benefits and risks associated with cloud computing, and to assess the extent of usage of cloud computing services. Fifty-two IT SMEs took part into this research and the findings revealed that respondents were IT consultants, IT managers, executive managers, middle managers, company owners, employees with IT expertise or knowledge, as well as IT specialists from each selected IT SME. IT SMEs that took part into the research had between 1-200 employees with primary users of computing devices being employees followed by clients. The findings revealed that IT SMEs operated in the following three sectors: computer/IT, mobile business, as well as digital solution. These organisations were in existence between one month and twenty years. The research findings indicated that 71.4% of respondents used cloud computing and 28.6% of respondents did not use cloud computing. The findings also indicated that 75% of non-users were planning to use cloud computing as compared to 25% of non-users, who were not planning to use cloud computing. The findings revealed that non-users were likely to use SaaS as compared to other cloud services. Among the challenges faced by non-users in the usage of cloud computing, the following were identified as very important ones: awareness, implementation, complexities, as well as risks.
The findings revealed that the following services were highly likely to be used by users: SaaS, IaaS, as well as PaaS. The following factors were identified by users as highly influential in their decision to adopt cloud computing: improved service level management, cost-efficiency, standard-based security, as well as risks. The following factors were identified as important
benefits in cloud computing by users: cost-efficiency, lower-implementation, scalability, saving time and cost, sustainability, customisation, as well as virtualisation.
The findings revealed the following factors as important concerns and limitations in cloud computing: risks, availability, security issues, regulatory requirements, awareness, performance, impact of security, impact of challenges, impact of availability, trust and
transparency, shared technology issues, disaster recovery, service level agreement, virtualisation, as well as policy integration. The findings also revealed that service level agreement should be the foundation for cloud computing adoption