3 Reasons Small Businesses Should Consider Moving to the Cloud
Small enterprises should follow the leaders, and start using cloud computing
The cloud has been quickly adopted by a number of large companies in order to streamline their operations, save money and generally make them more competitive.
Several major corporations have moved entire IT infrastructures onto cloud platforms, offering services via this cutting-edge technology and generating serious revenues from it, in spite of its relatively short time on the market. Two notable examples are Manchester Airport, who have moved their web hosting to a fully managed cloud-based hosting platform, and Businesswise Solutions, who replaced their entire telephone system with a hosted cloud telephony (VoIP) system.
However, it is sometimes assumed that companies at the other end of the scale, the small businesses, will be unable to take advantage of cloud computing solutions, putting them at a disadvantage, because like many other leading IT solutions it is unattainable for a small firm due to budgetary limitations.
The good news is that cloud computing actually lends itself particularly well to the small business environment, offering few of the obstacles to adoption that might normally present themselves. This means that harnessing the power of cloud computing is worth considering and can be an important asset to businesses of all shapes and sizes.
Successful uses of Cloud Computing by Small Businesses
There is currently a lot of hype surrounding cloud computing, and it is important to note that the most successful deployments of cloud computing amongst SMEs has been to fulfil a genuine need, and not simply to buy-in to the latest trend.
Recent independent research by both Microsoft and CompTIA found that 18% of SMEs have adopted cloud technology, with 30% planning on doing so by the middle of 2013, with the top uses being email hosting, data backups and document management, including online collaboration.
These three areas tend to be where smaller businesses begin to adopt cloud technology because it brings immediate benefits. As start-ups grow, they can quickly encounter problems, such as their email servers reaching capacity too quickly and local servers reaching their storage limit for both documents and data backups.
Even the time and expense required to maintain an in-house server for email hosting and storage with physical backup drives becomes prohibitive, and the volume of data that needs to be handled is constantly increasing, which means expensive hardware upgrades are inevitable.
More and more small businesses are finding these entry-level cloud computing solutions attractive, and, in additional to the potential cost savings, there are three other major benefits.
1 – Responsiveness through Scalability
The main benefit of using the cloud, rather than relying on in-house IT solutions, is that it is able to allow your company to behave more responsively in the face of a malleable marketplace.
If you need to add extra storage capacity or integrate a new software application that will help your business grow, a cloud service will allow for a simple and fast adoption process without the need for any complicated changes to on-site hardware. This means that as your company grows, the level of service that is provided to you by the cloud can grow along with it. As such, there will be little money wasted on IT platforms that your business needs to expand into in order to improve efficiency or as a result of being restricted by a system that your firm has outgrown.
2 – Maintenance and Security
While big corporations might have the in-house talent and resources to handle major IT services without breaking a sweat, small firms cannot reasonably expect to have the same available to them. This means that maintaining and upgrading on-site systems, as well as protecting them from malicious attacks and dealing with unexpected problems, can be problematic and expensive.
With the cloud this no longer needs to be a concern for smaller businesses since the provider will handle the process of keeping servers and data centres secure and running like clockwork, enabling you to enjoy improved uptime and availability while not worrying about expenses suddenly cropping up when hardware fails or if there is a threat of an outage.
3 – Flexibility
One of the best things about the cloud from the point of view of a small business is that you can adopt as much or as little of it as you see fit on a ‘pay-as-you-use’ basis. You might choose to migrate a single system to the cloud while keeping others in-house, or simply rely on it as a fail-safe back-up so that your business data is protected in the event of a disaster.
The result is not only a flexible solution to your IT needs, one which offers a bespoke fit for your company, but also significant cost savings that come from outsourcing various elements of your computational needs to a third party.
It is this flexibility, combined with the affordability and scalability of the cloud, that make it such a worthwhile consideration for small businesses.
This business advice article is published in association with Daisy Group Plc. Find out more about Daisy’s Cloud Computing Solutions.