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Benefits of Cloud Computing for Small Businesses?
Benefits of Cloud Computing for Small Businesses – How Does it Affect You?
With all the information flying around about Cloud Computing and its benefits, you'd be forgiven as a small business owner for wondering; what are the benefits of Cloud Computing for small businesses?
We can answer this in a nutshell (though the factors that relate to each individual business may differ slightly);
Cloud Computing solutions are, by their very nature, more secure than traditional IT services (as long as you choose the right provider; ask for references!). All you have to do is break down the components of an IT solution to see this is the case;
• Data is stored in a 24/7 guarded datacentre rather than on a box in the corner of your office, open to employee abuse, office visitors, and anyone who can pick a lock or break a window into your office.
• Data is encrypted using the same level of encryption as you get when you bank online.
• The Cloud platform sits behind a range of state-of-the-art firewalling and intrusion-detection technology, keeping hackers out.
• Do you believe hacking won't happen to you because you're a small business? Flip that on its head; small businesses generally don't have IT security in place, making you a desirable target for lazy hackers who want to easily destroy a business and/or steal its data.
Additional Resilience and Redundancy
Thanks to the way Cloud platforms are built, Cloud customers benefit from far more advanced resilience and redundancy than those who rely on traditional IT.
• There are only two types of hard drives; those that have failed, and those that will. The hard drive currently storing your business-critical data will eventually fail, and if you don't have a RAID (Redundant Array of Inexpensive Disks) system in place, your business will be offline until you replace the hard drive and restore your data…providing you had it backed up of course…
• Cloud platforms make use of multiple RAID systems, using high-end hard drives, to ensure that failing hardware doesn't present a problem.
• Virtual Servers offer resilience over physical host server failure. In a traditional rollout, if your server dies, your business is out of action until it is fixed or replaced; in a Cloud rollout, virtual servers automatically migrate to fully-functioning physical servers if the physical server that the virtual server is sitting on dies. Hopefully that makes sense! In a nutshell, it's better!
• Data can be replicated to your office, to our Cloud, and to another Cloud platform in another datacentre for complete coverage of all eventualities.
Better Costing Model
Cloud services are paid for on a per-month basis, depending on your overall need for each individual month. Compare this to traditional IT rollouts where you need to future-proof your IT spend, buying more than you need on the off-chance that your business grows. If your business doesn't grow, then that money was wasted; if it does eventually grow, then the investment you made in the additional IT resources may well be out of date by the time you need it. That's the nature of IT these days!
• Cloud services enable you to pay for Microsoft licensing on a per-user, per-month basis. If you hire staff, you increase the licensing count; if staff leave, you decrease the licensing count; the cost each month reflects the size and productivity of your business.
• No capital expenditure needed. Most businesses don't manage to store up enough of a budget for IT to buy what they really need when they need to purchase new IT systems, mainly because it often comes as a shock expense following the breakdown of the existing system. Cloud services can be built and rolled out cheaply, and sometimes free, meaning the IT costs purely become and operational cost each month.
Overall, "the Cloud" offers more flexibility, scalability, resilience, redundancy, and security over traditional IT services, and give you an easier spending model. While there are occasions where Cloud services aren't the right solution, in most instances they are. A good Cloud provider will tailor the solution to your business, based on your needs, wants, budget, and Internet bandwidth.
Get in touch with a Consultant today to find out more! Call us on 0845 521 6000, or drop us an email.