The world is trending toward cloud computing and the many benefits it offers. As a small business owner, is this the right choice for your business? What are the benefits and drawbacks and what, if any, are the risks? Andrew Mein from Pisys.net – a leading IT support company in Aberdeen, Scotland explains.
Most would argue that there are more advantages to cloud computing for small businesses than there are disadvantages. The the majority of these lie in the level of flexibility and cost savings of using cloud computing.
On the most basic level,SMEs can save capital with cloud computing. Without the need to spend on infrastructure as well as savings on IT support you are in a position to utilize enterprise class software and store large amounts of data that you may not be able to afford to buy, install and integrate. You are essentially outsourcing the infrastructure (and getting better quality while you’re at it) and paying as you go based on usage.
When enterprises switch to cloud computing they often have the project of installing Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and integrating it with existing systems. This isn’t the case for small businesses and start-ups. as they are usually able to simply use cloud based Software as a Service (SaaS) eliminating the need for IT.
The scalability of cloud computer services is another great advantage for small businesses. The cloud can handle peak service requirements easily. It can also take the addition of users and adjust to meet the changing needs of a growing and evolving company.
With cloud computing you need only a connection to the network (usually the Internet) to access your data. This means that you don’t have to be in the office to work. You can access the cloud from anywhere at any time which is a big plus for most small companies.
Updating and licensing software is a thing of the past once you are on the cloud. All updates are taken care of automatically. Also, while there are breakdowns in cloud computing as there are in any computer system and you will have to wait until it’s fixed, you don’t have to hire someone to come in and repair it (or keep someone on staff) as it will be repaired on the back end, usually within half the time, or less.
On the subject of risk, there is one area of concern. While there are advantages of storing data on the cloud such as safety from physical harm to your server or the loss of a laptop, there are also security issues. Cloud service providers certainly have security measures in place, but when it’s out of your hands there is little else you can do to decrease your chances are of being hacked.
Overall, cloud computing for small businesses is a very ideal way of solving many of the problems and overcoming some obstacles that SMEs and start-ups face. It is important to research your options and make sure a service can address all the issues your company might have, but if you do you may be on your way to improved efficiency and productivity.