Five Reasons SMBs Fear the Cloud
Fear of the cloud has been around since the Cloud began. SMBs were traditionally afraid of security issues, while large companies fretted about increasing the complexity of their IT infrastructure.
What many budding start-up companies don’t realise is Cloud Computing helps place them on a level playing field with big businesses. This new technology allows SMBs to cut IT costs, scale up and down easier and collaborate more effectively. However, ComScore reported roughly 40 per cent of SMBs are still not using cloud service providers due to fears surrounding cloud computing.
Let’s discuss five reasons why SMBs fear the Cloud:
I don’t know what Cloud Computing is
SMBs fear the cloud for the same reason you fear trying the new burger at McDonalds. You’ve no clue what it’s going to be like, and by the time you realise it’s terrible, it’s already too late. Most people aren’t big risk-takers when it comes to new technology, especially where their business is concerned.
A lack of education regarding what Cloud Computing is, and how it works is why many SMBs are afraid of this service. Basically, it’s a fear of the unknown. Most aren’t even aware they utilise the cloud in daily life, such as social media, online productivity tools like Google Apps and personal devices like mobile phones and tablets. What it comes down to, is that SMBs don’t know enough about the cloud to invest in it.
It’s not cost effective
The primary reason cloud computing gives SMBs a foothold in the league of big businesses is because it converts capital expenses to lower operating costs and provides instant scalability. This is especially significant with SMBs because they are constantly striving to grow and expand, and can upgrade computer power and data storage quickly, without additional staff, labour and hardware costs.
However, not all cloud solutions are cheaper than on-premise solutions, so it’s important to choose the correct type of cloud, private, public or hybrid to avoid spending more than necessary. For example, a public cloud is an inexpensive setup, and allows businesses to pay for what they use. But if you need your resources quite consistently, shared resources through a private cloud could be a cheaper alternative.
My data will not be secure
This SMB fear is perhaps the least unfounded of the five. The fear stems from the fact anything adrift on the Internet is at risk of a security breach from data-stealing malware. Also, accessing confidential information from personal devices puts your data in peril if they haven’t been configured with correct security settings. Outsourcing IT also means fault tolerance and redundancy is not under your business’s control. Although you should keep in mind information kept in data centres is probably more risk of being lost than data that’s been replicated and geographically distributed to other devices for safe-keeping.
Nonetheless, most SMBs can’t afford the enterprise level firewalls and security systems service providers can deliver. Not only this, if vendors are getting business, they’re probably pretty good at protecting data. You can expect their authentication, authorisation and access control to be pretty rock solid, since there would otherwise be painful consequences for their reputation.
My system will run slower
Your system’s performance depends on several factors. Some SMBs fear migrating to the cloud will make data storage, application access and other processes more complex. While it’s true the cloud can increase a company’s architectural complexity, this depends on your company’s needs and requirements.
Previously, IT departments only had to manage a few software applications and data security. The adoption of cloud-developed applications necessitates higher computer power and more changes to your system, which would ultimately give your business a more complex IT infrastructure.
However, the speed of your system and applications is contingent on Internet connection, the types of applications and other factors. By using the cloud, you’re effectively putting the Internet between your business and its storage, and whether you can expect your performance to improve, suffers or stay the same should be discussed with your vendor.
The Cloud Service Provider might fail
There have been a few instances in the past where major cloud service providers, such as Amazon have failed and put fear in SMB owners who can’t afford any downtime when they are trying to grow.
What’s worth noting is Amazon obviously doesn’t use geographical redundancy, but gives you the option of building it in. Also, you’re in an equally troublesome position if your data center fails. Using the cloud allows SMBs to have a failsafe set up somewhere else to ensure reliable service continues without interruption.
Why do SMBs fear cloud computing?
Ultimately, SMBs fear cloud computing because of a lack of education. They don’t know what it is, how it works or what it does. And if you don’t know what something does, how can you make an informed decision?
Whether cloud computing is advantageous for you depends on your business’s current state, and your thoroughness in forecasting its future. Obviously, cloud computing is not for everyone, but if you’re deciding whether your SMB should migrate to cloud computing you need to look at three things. What your present requirements are, where your business is headed and the terms in the service agreement from your chosen vendor.
At 31 years old, Gordon Tan is the Managing Director of one of Australia’s fastest growing IT Support Companies R & G Technologies which employs over 30 staff. Having started the company 10 years ago he is passionate about educating others on how to grow successful and sustainable businesses.