A recent Harris Poll examined the public’s attitudes towards cloud computing and revealed some very interesting facts with regards to how a shift towards the cloud can affect email marketing in the near future.

Email Will Be The Most Popular Acceptable Cloud Activity

Cloud computing seems to be the wave of the near future in online behavior. The series of technologies that allow data to reside “in the cloud” or on remote servers operated by a number of different companies allows these files to not only be stored, but edited, played, and used in any way from just about anywhere there is an internet connection. The Harris Poll asked thousands of computer users how interested they were in utilizing cloud computing for a wide variety of different online activities, and the results as pertain to email access are very telling.

A total of 14% of all respondents stated they were “extremely interested” in email cloud access, 13% were “very interested” and 21% were “interested.” These percentages add up to 48% of all computer users who were positive about email in the cloud. It is interesting to note that 19% stated that they were “somewhat interested,” so although not as enthusiastic as the first three groups, it still shows that the total number of computer users who are leaning towards cloud email access is fully two thirds of the entire base audience.

Most Users Don’t Want Their Financial Info In The Cloud

The Harris Poll discovered that the likely uptake of email cloud access is the highest of any other type of online activity. Indeed, fully 40% of all users polled stated that they were “not at all interested” in accessing music in the cloud, 42% did not want office documents there, and a majority of 52% did not want to have their financial service information, such as bank records and tax files, anywhere near the cloud. Interestingly, only 5% of all respondents stated that they were “extremely interested” in their personal financial service information being stored in the cloud.

Younger Users Are Far More Likely To Use Cloud Email

The Harris Poll also revealed that there is a significant age skew to computer users’ interest in the cloud. Among echo boomers of 18 to 33 years of age, fully 56% stated that they were “extremely,” “very,” or just “interested” in email access in the cloud as compared to 47% of gen x individuals 34 to 45 years of age. This percentage falls to 43% among baby boomers of 46 to 64 years of age, and all the way down to 33% among matures 65 years of age or older.

Cloud Data Security & Safety Is The Greatest Concern

A variety of questions were posed in the poll that provided further insight into the public’s attitude towards cloud computing (the numbers do not add up to 100% as some respondents were not sure):

“I would still keep backups of cloud files on my own computer.”

Agree 84%
Disagree 7%

“I am concerned about cloud security.”

Agree 81%
Disagree 10%

“Files on my hard drive are safer than in the cloud.”

Agree 58%
Disagree 26%

“I do not trust that my files are safe in the cloud.”

Agree 57%
Disagree 32%

“I would not place my personal information in the cloud.”

Agree 62%
Disagree 25%

It seems that the security of important and personal data in the cloud is still a significant concern to most computer users. Even though email access seems to top the list of acceptable cloud activities and reaches a clear majority among younger users, there is still resistance among a third of all email users which grows to a full two thirds among seniors. The insights this data provides can be critical in determining the structure of future email marketing campaigns.