How Small Businesses Can Benefit from Cloud Services

More than half a decade after the term cloud computing was coined, millions of businesses around the world are using hosted services to add value to their operations. The cloud has been a truly game-changing innovation for companies of all sizes, causing a significant culture shift within the IT sector and business as a whole. Whereas companies once prided themselves on the scale of their in-house IT infrastructure, they are now racing to reduce it in favor of an online service delivery model.

In many respects, small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) stand to benefit the most from cloud-based technologies. Facing tough budgetary constraints, it has not always been easy for start-ups and even established small firms to take advantage of information technology. But all this has changed with the advent of the cloud. Working in conjunction with a third-party specialist, SMBs now have every opportunity to add value with IT.

Here are five main ways in which cloud computing benefit helps small businesses:

  1. Reduce IT costs

The vast majority of SMBs operate with limited budgets, and that’s before you even get to the funds set aside for information technology. Larger companies may have the resources to invest in their own server rooms, data centers and other in-house infrastructure, but few SMBs are in such a position. But nowadays this matters little.

Sourcing IT services online from a third-party provider means there is little need for capital investment in expensive hardware and software – cloud customers simply pay for access on a per-use basis. Funds that would previously have been used to assemble IT infrastructure can be diverted into other areas.

  1. Use latest technologies and advanced solutions

An associated benefit of sourcing IT services from a third-party cloud provider is that SMBs are able to use the latest solutions on offer in their field. Cloud vendors are naturally incentivized to offer market-leading technologies to customers – if they don’t invest, then end-users will simply move to a rival provider who does. This means that, despite being a subscriber rather than an ‘IT owner’, SMBs can use advanced solutions which would previously have been beyond their price range. This is further helping to level the playing field with larger businesses, giving small firms the chance to be more competitive.

  1. Fewer Issues with Applications

When applications are hosted in the cloud, IT departments no longer have to struggle with managing and monitoring them. Scaling, providing for capacity, and load balancing are no longer issues – it’s automatic when those applications are hosted in the cloud. As a result, you experience less unplanned downtime and keep up your SLAs at 99.99%.

  1. Improved Security

While there have been some concerns over security with cloud providers in the past, this is not the case today. On the contrary, 94% of SMEs have experienced a security boost after adopting the cloud.

By migrating to the Cloud, you automatically benefit from the company’s extensive security expertise and best practices. You no longer need an in-house team to orchestrate and constantly adjust security practices manually and monitor your infrastructure performance 24/7. The majority of security patches and updates can be installed with little-to-no supervision, often remotely. And yet, whenever a potential threat emerges, your key team members will be immediately alerted, so that the investigations could begin.

  1. Disaster recovery

It’s imperative for every business to have a disaster recovery plan and back up all data offsite.

It’s not fun to think about, but it would be a tragedy if a natural event like a hurricane, earthquake, or flood occurred close to one of your server farms and wiped out your business’ data.

Many large organizations have disaster recovery plans, but some small businesses don’t have the funds nor expertise to ensure their business’ continuity in the case of a catastrophe.

Cloud computing allows you to easily back up your company’s data and enable faster disaster recovery of critical IT systems without having to incur high costs for multiple data centers and increased infrastructure.

Cloud providers can back up any amount of data, replicate servers to a remote site, facilitate fast storage and retrieval of files, and more, giving you peace of mind while saving you money.

  1. Get new apps running quicker

Before the advent of cloud computing, it could take a long time to get new applications running smoothly. Cloud-based applications, however, have significantly reduced the time required for successful execution. Most cloud-based applications can be used instantly after signup.

This offers many advantages to businesses. One, in particular, is that businesses who migrate to the cloud can be benefitting from AI and machine learning applications within hours of signing up.

  1. Strategic competitive advantage

Deployment time in cloud computing is virtually zero and applications that are critical for growth and success can be online almost instantly, giving you a strategic competitive advantage over competitors who have not yet adopted cloud technology.

In addition, the scalability mentioned above means that smaller companies who would normally be at a disadvantage against larger companies with greater in-house capacity, now find themselves on a level playing field without the need to invest heavily in their own data centers.

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