Australian businesses are making big advances in cloud technology, as they continue to embrace the benefits of computing in the cloud.

According to the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA), 86 per cent of Australia's largest firms are now using cloud-based technology in some capacity.

However, small companies have been slower to move into new online technologies than larger companies. Among SMEs, only 44 per cent are using cloud technology.

If more companies moved into cloud computing, they could expect big business savings. KPMG estimates the increased adoption of cloud services in Australian firms could boost the Australian economy by $3.32 billion a year, according to a press release from the Minister for Communications Malcolm Turnbull.

In response to this challenge, the government has published a new tool to help small businesses move into cloud computing.

The guidelines cover a number of key areas in which businesses can benefit from cloud technology. For example, the guidelines highlight the advantages of moving into cloud-based IT services, along with some of the questions small businesses should ask their IT provider when investigating their computing options.

To accompany these new guidelines, the government has also published a stock take of current federal laws around cloud-based technology. The Cloud Computing Regulatory Stock Take gives companies a single point of reference for understanding the legal implications of moving more of their business onto the internet.

The ACMA has predicted that cloud computing in Australia will be valued at $2.7 billion in 2017. With such high levels of growth, businesses have a strong imperative to invest in this technology and stay ahead of their competition.

Companies that want to consider moving their firm into the cloud might want to consider investing in strategy planning software. This technology gives companies the ability to track their business objectives, with input from employees enabled across any device or work location.