Cloud computing is the current superstar of the IT market, earning plenty of praise and promotion from industry experts and service providers. While adoption of the cloud is growing amongst medium and large businesses, however, there are a number of smaller firms that might not be entirely confident that adoption of this sort of platform is the right move.
It may seem unlikely, but the reality is that cloud computing is actually very well suited to smaller enterprises, with a number of benefits that can really be pounced upon by companies with limited budgets and small numbers of staff.
The key to the cloud’s appeal in the small business sphere is flexibility, because you really want to be able to invest in an IT solution that is going to be responsive to the changing circumstances in which your company finds itself.
While on-premises hardware requires upfront payment and persistent maintenance costs, the cloud is not lumbered with these issues. Instead, you can pay for the usage you require and not a penny more.
Because cloud services are hosted remotely, anyone can access them via a network connection. The amount of IT capacity that you need will obviously vary, depending on how your business is growing and whether temporary increases in activity are in the pipeline, but the pay-as-you-use approach of the cloud means you will not stretch your budget further than necessary.
The cloud can account for the peaks and troughs in usage requirements and ensure that there is scope for your business to grow and develop without feeling restricted by the IT systems to which it has access.
As noted above, the cloud benefits from the fact that its flexibility does not put any unnecessary strain on your IT expenses. However, there are other cost savings to be made if your small business adopts this type of system.
For example, even if you can afford to install an on-site IT set-up that will account for your current business needs and still give you room to man-oeuvre in the future, you will still have to cover the costs of maintenance. This might be impractical, particularly if your company does not have the in-house talent available to carry out the necessary work.
In addition, at some point it will be necessary to upgrade your hardware and software, which means that there are yet more costs to bear further down the line, thereby increasing the risk of one-off expenses to come out of nowhere and hit you hard.
When you use the cloud, all of these concerns are the responsibility of the provider, which leaves business users in a much better position. You will know exactly how much a service will cost over the course of its use, while factors such as upgrades and maintenance will be taken care of independently.
The cloud offers small businesses access to IT services that would otherwise be unavailable to them. It offers excellent opportunities for you to back up and store mission-critical data that will allow you to keep your business afloat in the event of a disaster, as well as being able to support software applications and entire infrastructural elements that could not possibly be integrated in-house.
The main obstacle to adoption in small businesses is a lack of understanding of the cloud, but this is easy to rectify and once managers are made aware of the potential benefits, it should be easy to ensure that this type of IT solution becomes part of your operations. This is something that will not be monopolised by the big boys with major budgets, but is available and affordable to all.
This article was provided by Daisy Group plc, who have a range of cloud computing solutions and hosting products available. Visit their website for more information.