In recent months, there has been a lot of talk about how small to medium-sized business owners can level the playing field with giant, global enterprises. The cloud has been one of the suggested methods of boosting profits and productivity. However, does the cloud equate to a lot of unsubstantiated hype or does it measure up to expectations?
Costs: Cost savings could be a big advantage to SMBs as they adopt cloud. These savings accrue primarily because cloud services are charged based on usage. Thus, costs of idle resources or over-capacity are saved. Further, as cloud involves mostly op-ex rather than cap-ex, it can be much more cash-flow friendly for an SMB. On-demand nature of cloud services means that the business would not need to carry the costs of computing resources that are not in need.
Speed: SMBs can ill-afford large deployment or upgrade projects, and cloud dramatically reduces the time taken to provision, setting up services and making applications available. Moreover, cloud absolves businesses of intensive efforts required to upgrade to the newer versions. System patches and upgrades, typically, happen in the background with user impact reduced to a minimum.
Scalability: It is one of the more fundamental promises of cloud. Vast computing resources shared across a variety of users enable scalability—availability of computing capacity (be it computing power, storage, number of users, etc.) on demand. From a business's perspective, usage based pricing allows valuable flexibility. Thus making an IT environment available which is dynamic and fluid, with the ability to add new businesses, spin up new services and respond to the ever-changing customer needs is easily possible without much pain, effort, and investment of time and costs.
Security: Contrary to the popular perception, cloud applications can be much more secure, especially for small and medium businesses. It is a fact that ensuring security is hard. The applications and infrastructure need to be continuously monitored, maintained and patched; in general remain ahead of looming cyber threats. This requires enormous expertise and expense, which a small or medium sized business might not want to organize. Similarly, more basic threats to application and information availability like power or network outages, simple human errors and hardware failures are much better addressed when specialized cloud service providers bring together: scale, skills and investments. Moreover, reputable cloud application providers have, in general, invested significantly in compliance to security standards, operational best practices, infrastructure redundancies and people preparedness.
Cloud Only Technology: Much of the new technology development is happening in the realm of cloud. Technology companies like Microsoft have adopted cloud as primary focus, whereas offerings from companies like Google or Amazon have been, almost, entirely cloud based. Many innovative start-ups who are enabling new use cases and applications are building those for cloud. Be it newer ways of connecting to customers, or more efficient collaboration with an organization—some of the most innovative tools are available as cloud only. No business, regardless of its size, can afford not to consider these technologies.
SureSkills CTO, Kevin Reid says, “In order for SMB’s to attract new clients and achieve growth, they need to be innovative and differentiate their offering. Leveraging the Cloud enables SMB’s to focus on their business while someone else ensures its ‘always-on’, compliant and secure. The simple ‘On Demand’ model, means you benefit from Scalability & Agility without the high investment costs”.
Cloud systems have become a regular part of everyday life. When you store music on iTunes, you’re saving it to the cloud. When you download a book on your Kindle, you’re purchasing from the cloud. So why have SMB’s in Ireland been reluctant to migrate their systems over to the cloud? For many it’s the fear of the “unknown” or the so called associated “risk”. Many businesses want to wait for someone else to start doing it, but that shift is happening. According to the CSO, 35% of Irish enterprises purchased cloud computing services in 2015, compared with an EU-28 average of 22%. Irish businesses have started to react and they are now beginning to utilise the benefits mentioned above.
SureSkills unique “Complete Cloud Offering” engages with SMB’s along every step of their cloud journey, from Education to Migration, all the way to Operation & Support. Our experts have seen it all before and our best practice approach allows us tailor company specific cloud packages to achieve your desired goals.