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Technology is critical in today’s environment, and cloud technology has enabled SMBs to reap scalability, flexibility, cost, innovation, maintenance and security benefits.

In this 2014 report, Deloitte, commissioned by Google, surveyed the operating practices of small and medium business (SMBs) in the United States and five European countries. SMBs today operate within the fastest moving commercial environment in history, offering outstanding opportunities. Those that embrace technology are more likely to outperform slower adopters, and the fastest growing, they found, make extensive use of cloud technologies.

Deloitte describes cloud technologies as standardized IT services and solutions -- such as infrastructure, platforms and software -- that are managed and maintained by a third party, are delivered to consumers over a network connection and are paid for based on usage. Cloud technology offers almost infinite resources -- for example, tools such as Google Drive and Dropbox offer effectively unlimited file storage and allow documents to be synced and shared across multiple users.

Eighty-five percent of SMBs, Deloitte found, believe cloud technology enables them to scale and grow even faster, particularly to overcome the critical challenges of accessing capital and skills. Overall benefits of cloud technology include scalability, flexibility, lower costs, easy access to innovation, relatively low maintenance requirements and decent security. Flexibility around mobility and remote working is the primary reason for adoption among those surveyed.

Moreover, cloud technologies aid businesses in each step toward maturity -- in the start-up phase, in the rapid growth phase and in the phase of relative maturity. Deloitte found leaders of successful SMBs to be savvy about the cloud and technology in general, and able to tailor technology to a business need.