When we think about cryptographic keys, we tend to think about closely guarded secrets. Keys are the only thing that keeps the attacker away from your encrypted data. Some keys are usually treated with the appropriate level of respect. Security professionals in the payments industry, or those that have deployed a PKI, know all too well about the importance... 

Richard Moulds

The Cloud Sees Small Businesses Soar

The Cloud Sees Small Businesses Soar

The first quarter of 2012 has resulted in a significant growth in the recognition of the advantages cloud computing is providing to small businesses. For those outside of the know, we provide a brief overview of just why cloud is good to SMBs.

How does cloud computing empower my small business?

How long do you have to visit this site? We could literally fill an entire day with the bounty of assets the cloud can provide to shrewd and ambitious small businesses. For one thing, you’ll spend a great deal less on your expenses via cloud technology; it costs less money to buy space in the cloud than it would to purchase hefty, physical servers or other pieces of hardware.

There is no interdependency of platforms either with the cloud; programs such as Dropbox, IFTTT and GoogleDocs don’t care if you open your files alternately on your MacBook Pro, your friend’s Gateway, or your Droid Max RAZR. Another plus of the cloud is the seriously small amount of know-how it requires to get started.

At the outset, you’ll probably be able to manage the software all by your lonesome. This isn’t to say you won’t eventually grow to a situation that would benefit from a credentialed tech pro. But what an advantage — monetarily and practically — to get started right away, with such ease of use to boot.

How can cloud computing help me compete against bigger establishments?

Think of the cloud as a Great Equalizer; anything the big boys do, you can do at least as well, when liberated and bolstered by what cloud computing offers. In general, cloud enables small businesses to scale up in terms of their capacities, without having to spend exorbitantly in order to do so. Compared to the other types of resources small businesses could employ to arm themselves, cloud computing is actually safer and more reliable. Best of all, cloud allows SMBs to function at the level of a well oiled entrprise, particularly in terms of maintenance and growth.

How are today’s small businesses interacting with the cloud?

Experts believe that more than 80% of all businesses, including little guys, have incorporated at least one cloud application into their daily affairs, while three-quarters of small business owners report a savings of nearly 25%, thanks to cloud computing products. (These stats were derived from The CDW 2011 Cloud Computing Tracking Poll.) Apparently, small businesses are thriving on the boom in productiveness. They still have to be on guard for the security of their data (i.e., avoiding untested WiFi networks to access cloud-stored info), but savvy use of the cloud more than makes up for these quibbles by granting SMBs the chance to stand eye-to-eye with the toughies.

By Jeff Norman

About Jeff Norman

Jeff Norman is a freelance writer currently based in New York City. He's moved into writing about cloud computing from substantial work in culture and the arts. He earned his undergraduate degree in English at Stanford and has studied at Oxford and Cambridge.