In part one of this two-part blog post on public cloud adoption by small and medium-sized businesses, delve into how worldwide spending on public cloud is set to increase rapidly by 2019, with SMBs making up a significant portion of total spending (according to recent research by IDC). In part two, read about the shifting perspective on public cloud security and get expert advice for SMBs that are newly making the shift to the cloud. In the U.S., 75% of small companies (100 or fewer employees) and 95% of midmarket companies (100 to 999 employees) have already deployed cloud tools. As SMBs, especially medium-sized firms, become increasingly cloud-first, there are fewer and fewer reasons to deploy and manage apps on-premises – one of which is to meet industry compliance requirements that necessitate tight security controls, according to Christopher Chute, a research vice president at IDC. But even the perception of public cloud security is changing. The level of security that hyperscale cloud service providers like AWS can provide nowadays is also driving the acceleration of cloud adoption among SMBs, said Chute. “I think we’re going to start to see more and more of cloud service providers market on security as a positive, as opposed to saying, ‘Don’t worry, we are secure,'” which was the reverse case even just a couple of years ago, he said. With the threat landscape becoming increasingly complex and dangerous, “even the smaller cloud service providers … are going to start to say, ‘We have that threat detection expertise and mitigation in house” in a way that your 1.5 IT staff at your 100-person law firm can never manage on their own,” he added. For SMBs that still haven’t made the leap to cloud, Chute advises they start soon — competitors likely already have a leg up. “They probably have already adopted at least a handful of cloud services,” Chute said. His advice for SMBs that are on the fence about cloud adoption is to follow the lead of half of all U.S. midmarket firms: Deploy core communication functions such as email to Office 365, a basic cloud service that Chute said offers familiarity and comfort. “The look and feel is very similar to Outlook; you have an on-premises/client component, and then you have the Web component,” he said. From there, Chute believes SMBs’ familiarity with the cloud should grow to the point where they will feel more comfortable upgrading other office productivity applications to the cloud; eventually, an SMB should be able to work with service providers to evaluate cloud services specific to their vertical industry.