What The Cloud Can Do For Your Small Business

What The Cloud Can Do For Your Small Business

What The Cloud Can Do For Your Small BusinessIDC

If your company isn’t utilizing cloud computing technology, you risk falling behind in the marketplace. The cloud makes it easier to manage, share and store content and data, and the figures show that your competition has most likely already moved to the cloud or is about to make the switch.

Gartner predicts global IT spending will exceed $3.7 trillion this year, and the chief analyst at IDC estimates that 90 percent of the growth driving the IT industry from 2013 to 2020 will be driven by mobile, social, cloud and big-data technologies. To meet this rising demand, cloud service providers are stepping up their game to remain competitive—and this puts your business in good shape to take advantage of the cloud.

Implementing cloud infrastructure can reduce many of the costs associated with maintaining your own physical infrastructure and compensating the staff to support it. The cloud also revolutionizes business operations and strategies, especially for small businesses.

The Cloud Save Resources

Take a look at your accounting department, for example. You pay fees to own several licenses of accounting software, and then you pay for the PCs your employees use to access it. You also pay for servers to host the software, do the online backup and then hire personnel to maintain those servers and the software. You may also have to pay the software manufacturer directly to solve problems your staff can’t handle.

If you use an accounting solution that’s hosted in the cloud, you only have to pay for the right to use the software – you don’t have to fix problems associated with it. Your servers have a significantly reduced burden, in that they simply act as a conduit for the Internet; they don’t have to execute any programs. You can dedicate these resources to other business functions or reduce their use.

It Helps You Grow

The reduced strain on your own resources encourages growth for your business, making it an ideal solution for startups and small to medium-sized businesses. In addition, instead of having to research, purchase and install your own equipment, you simply have to find a cloud computing vendor. Once you sign on, then you have access to all the data and hardware you need to scale your business.

Customers Demand It

Although they may not fully realize it yet, your customers want cloud computing solutions to provide them with better service. With cloud computing, you can get software that enables a customer to open a ticket, multiple people to work on it, and then have it passed on to a more qualified representative. Many cloud service providers have a knowledge base where your employees can store and share information pertaining to specific customer questions. Not only does it help your customers, it streamlines your service processes and helps your employees use time and other resources more efficiently.

The Cloud Isn’t Perfect

Even though the cloud helps small businesses far more than it hurts, it isn’t perfect. You can safeguard your business by paying special attention to these common security issues and asking your cloud service how they account for them:

What happens if a disaster strikes?

Any reasonable cloud services provider stores data in multiple locations around the country. This is probably the most common reason small businesses transition to the cloud. Make sure you ask your services provider the geographic locations where your data will be stored.

How is your data protected?

Cloud service providers have to place a high focus on security. Hackers are waiting to get their hands on private data, and most cloud service providers realize a single breach could become a public relations disaster (and worse yet, a lawsuit). Ask the service providers you are considering what technology they use to protect your data while it’s in their hands.

How many outages have they experienced?

This is really the biggest concern. According to Gartner, private data compromises happen infrequently; the more common concern in the cloud computing industry should be how often outages occur and whether those outages result in data loss. Many enterprises aren’t prepared for such a scenario. To protect your company, you should classify the various types of data that need protection. Communicate this to your cloud services provider, and ask them how they will protect the most sensitive data. At minimum, encryption, tokenization and data loss prevention systems should be present.

Issues in the Cloud

Leading cloud services providers Microsoft and Amazon have experienced data outages in the last year, according to datacenterknowledge.com. These outages have affected large businesses like Instagram, Salesforce.com, Reddit, Quora, Dropbox and Netflix.

So, if even the bigger companies get hit from time to time, why would you consider using the cloud? It still makes sense, and the industry is rapidly adapting to market demands. Following are a few common issues businesses experience according to Redmond Magazine:

Public attacks do happen. Yes, companies do have their data held in cloud storage hacked from time to time, but the cloud is safe for the most part. No security solution is 100 percent perfect, and a few big stories will always make the headlines. You can always ask your provider if they encrypt your files while they’re stored and what other measures they take to protect your data from unauthorized access. Think of it like you think of the bank: Sometimes, the bank gets robbed, but you keep your money there instead of at home because it’s still a safer option.

Backing up terabytes of data takes a long time. The standard is 30–60 days for the initial backup, even if that backup is performed over a T1 line. Because the cloud industry is growing so fast, this can be used as an opportunity to test the service of a new provider. Also, even though the initial backup takes an extended period of time, data de-duplication (transferring only those files that have been changed) cuts this time down to a fraction of what it was initially for ongoing backups.

There’s a need for customization. Many businesses say this is one of the largest hurdles they encounter. Rackspace, however, has already implemented a solution to this challenge: It allows IT pros to customize where their backups go, even if they go to other providers.

The shift to cloud computing continues to grow, and business leaders are discovering it’s not so much if you’ll move to the cloud, but when.

By Dan Stelter

About CloudTweaks

Established in 2009, CloudTweaks is recognized as one of the leading authorities in connected technology information and services.

We embrace and instill thought leadership insights, relevant and timely news related stories, unbiased benchmark reporting as well as offer green/cleantech learning and consultive services around the world.

Our vision is to create awareness and to help find innovative ways to connect our planet in a positive eco-friendly manner.

In the meantime, you may connect with CloudTweaks by following and sharing our resources.

View All Articles

One Response to What The Cloud Can Do For Your Small Business

Comic
Fintech Exploiting AI and Blockchain Technology

Fintech Exploiting AI and Blockchain Technology

AI and Blockchain Technology The field of artificial intelligence (AI) had progressed rapidly in the last ten years, though first recognized in the 1950s. From autonomous motor vehicles to digital personal assistants, the technology is making its way into a variety of industries, enabling better task automation, language processing, and data analytics. But more recently,…

Staying on Top of Your Infrastructure-as-a-Service Security Responsibilities

Staying on Top of Your Infrastructure-as-a-Service Security Responsibilities

Infrastructure-as-a-Service Security It’s no secret many organizations rely on popular cloud providers like Amazon and Microsoft for access to computing infrastructure. The many perks of cloud services, such as the ability to quickly scale resources without the upfront cost of buying physical servers, have helped build a multibillion-dollar cloud industry that continues to grow each…

What’s On The Horizon For Cloud Computing

What’s On The Horizon For Cloud Computing

Cloud Computing Trends Now that we are a little more than halfway through 2016, many experts are beginning to make their predictions about cloud computing for the rest of the year and beyond. While many of the trends aren’t too unexpected (the ever increasing acceptance of cloud solutions by businesses, for instance) other trends are…

Tesla Solar Plan Would Cost Billions To Implement

Tesla Solar Plan Would Cost Billions To Implement

A 1,500-word manifesto that Elon Musk unveiled last week, outlining his plan to expand Tesla Motors Inc.’s electric-vehicle line and to build “stunning solar roofs,” may end up costing the company tens of billions of dollars to carry out. Musk, Tesla’s chairman and chief executive officer, gave the estimate on Tuesday after a tour of the…

Healthcare IoT Security To Grow To $47 Billion In 2021

Healthcare IoT Security To Grow To $47 Billion In 2021

Healthcare IoT Security It’s obvious that IoT can make the entire healthcare industry more efficient. The kind of data involved can be used to save time, physical energy and operating costs. Because of this, devices that facilitate medical data are becoming more commonplace in the industry. This includes things such as wearables that can track…

Your Biggest Data Security Threat Could Be….

Your Biggest Data Security Threat Could Be….

Paying Attention To Data Security Your biggest data security threat could be sitting next to you… Data security is a big concern for businesses. The repercussions of a data security breach ranges from embarrassment, to costly lawsuits and clean-up jobs – particularly when confidential client information is involved. But although more and more businesses are…

Which Is Better For Your Company: Cloud-Based or On-Premise ERP Deployment?

Which Is Better For Your Company: Cloud-Based or On-Premise ERP Deployment?

Cloud-Based or On-Premise ERP Deployment? You know how enterprise resource management (ERP) can improve processes within your supply chain, and the things to keep in mind when implementing an ERP system. But do you know if cloud-based or on-premise ERP deployment is better for your company or industry? While cloud computing is becoming more and…

Staying on Top of Your Infrastructure-as-a-Service Security Responsibilities

Staying on Top of Your Infrastructure-as-a-Service Security Responsibilities

Infrastructure-as-a-Service Security It’s no secret many organizations rely on popular cloud providers like Amazon and Microsoft for access to computing infrastructure. The many perks of cloud services, such as the ability to quickly scale resources without the upfront cost of buying physical servers, have helped build a multibillion-dollar cloud industry that continues to grow each…

Cloud Services Providers – Learning To Keep The Lights On

Cloud Services Providers – Learning To Keep The Lights On

The True Meaning of Availability What is real availability? In our line of work, cloud service providers approach availability from the inside out. And in many cases, some never make it past their own front door given how challenging it is to keep the lights on at home let alone factors that are out of…

The Internet of Things – Redefining The Digital World As We Know It

The Internet of Things – Redefining The Digital World As We Know It

Redefining The Digital World According to Internet World Stats (June 30th, 2015), no fewer than 3.2 billion people across the world now use the internet in one way or another. This means an incredible amount of data sharing through the utilization of API’s, Cloud platforms and inevitably the world of connected Things. The Internet of Things is a…

Three Factors for Choosing Your Long-term Cloud Strategy

Three Factors for Choosing Your Long-term Cloud Strategy

Choosing Your Long-term Cloud Strategy A few weeks ago I visited the global headquarters of a large multi-national company to discuss cloud strategy with the CIO. I arrived 30 minutes early and took a tour of the area where the marketing team showcased their award winning brands. I was impressed by the digital marketing strategy…

Cloud Infographic – The Internet Of Things In 2020

Cloud Infographic – The Internet Of Things In 2020

The Internet Of Things In 2020 The growing interest in the Internet of Things is amongst us and there is much discussion. Attached is an archived but still relevant infographic by Intel which has produced a memorizing snapshot at how the number of connected devices have exploded since the birth of the Internet and PC.…

Cloud Computing – The Game Changer

Cloud Computing – The Game Changer

Global Cloud Index In October, Cisco released its Global Cloud Index (GCI) report for 2014-2019, projecting a near 3-fold growth of global data center traffic, with predictions that this traffic will reach 8.6 zettabytes (cloud data center traffic) and 10.4 zettabytes (total data center traffic) per year in 2019 and 80% of it will come…

The Internet of Things Lifts Off To The Cloud

The Internet of Things Lifts Off To The Cloud

The Staggering Size And Potential Of The Internet of Things Here’s a quick statistic that will blow your mind and give you a glimpse into the future. When you break that down, it translates to 127 new devices online every second. In only a decade from now, every single vehicle on earth will be connected…

The Questions of Privacy In The Internet of Things Revolution

The Questions of Privacy In The Internet of Things Revolution

Privacy in the Internet of Things Revolution The Internet of Things (IoT) has been promising a lot to consumers for a few years and now we’re really starting to see some of the big ideas come to fruition, which means an ever-growing conversation around data security and privacy. Big data comes with big responsibilities and…