Small businesses are increasingly stepping away from on-premise solutions and toward cloud-based solutions. Mention the cloud to any IT professional, and they will undoubtedly have a view of the benefits it brings.
What once was an “innovative technology” is now a driver of companies as we move forward to post-pandemic. Most businesses today are using some form of a cloud. Forbes reports that 86% of start-ups and small businesses rely on cloud services increased. While that is a significant percentage, the cloud industry is expected to continue to expand year after year. More applications are moving to the cloud, and organizations are continuing to look at maximizing this environment for their business. IDC reports that small-to-medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are investing more in the cloud than last year, with a jump from 38% to 53% of spending.
Two primary reasons behind the move to the cloud are flexibility and scalability. You only pay for the services you need, and you can expand without the addition of new hardware. That’s ideal for many organizations, especially for small businesses that are still on their way to increasing their revenue, but that alone is not convincing enough for your business. You are not alone in feeling slightly skeptical about its benefits.
Despite what some vendors like to push, the cloud is not a one-size-fits-all approach. Cloud brings a range of options. The options are essential, which is why you need a trusted agnostic partner to help you navigate the possibilities. Different approaches bring different benefits, many of which are often overlooked.
Benefits of Moving to the Cloud
1. Enhanced Security
Surprised that security is at the top of the list? Security is often a significant concern for organizations moving to the cloud. Indeed, entrusting your data or workloads to a public cloud provider that will co-locate it with other companies can be unsettling. As we discuss in our blog, “Public Cloud, Private Cloud, Hybrid Cloud: What’s the Right Answer?” there is a solution to this too. Microsoft reports that 94% of small businesses have experienced enhanced security since moving to the cloud. The right private cloud provider will bring you the advantage of the latest technology and robust security architecture to protect your sensitive information. For instance, you can remotely wipe any classified data if your employee loses a laptop.
2. Efficiency and Resource Utilization
Moving workloads to the cloud results in less equipment onsite. Wouldn’t it be nice to reclaim the space from your data center? How about lowering the energy bill? The power and cooling needed to maintain data can be a drain. The cloud allows small businesses to upgrade their systems and network while utilizing their current infrastructure.
3. Automatic Software Updates
IT maintenance not only demands a sizable portion of the budget but also consumes time. In a cloud environment, updates can happen automatically. Your IT professionals are not stuck managing individual user upgrades. The cloud provider also handles all the software maintenance and security patches. There is no need for your team to get into the specifics of server issues.
4. Increased Mobility
Knowledge workers are often frozen without access to their data and applications. A laptop left at home or, worse, on an airplane used to mean hours of lost productivity and IT headaches. A cloud environment can enable employees to securely access all their information from another device. This allows your employees to work anywhere, at any time, and not need to be physically present in the office to be able to work. Whether you plan to absorb remote work or make a hybrid approach, the cloud allows you to adapt and be flexible on your work environment decisions.
Important Features of the Cloud
1. File-based recovery
One of the most important features of the cloud is being able to recover your files in case of any natural, machine, or human errors. Any form of file loss can be a massive blow to a business that makes cloud backups appealing.
2. Technical support
This gives peace of mind to business owners when an issue comes up. Cloud providers delegate customer representatives for technical assistance. It comes in handy for businesses without in-house IT personnel that can handle issues. You can focus more on your business goals and processes while being supported by IT experts.
Security is one of the major factors in using the cloud. Choosing the right cloud for your business allows you to protect critical information. It can distribute data across multiple servers and safeguard stored data against any type of hardware failure. Data stored in the cloud is also encrypted, making it harder for hackers to access critical data.
4. Ease of access
Files and apps are on a standard platform that enables widespread usage within the organization. You can also access documents with any device at any place.
Businesses can cut down on costs using cloud storage. It spares executives and business owners the pain of keeping data with internal power and multiple resources. You can develop and customize solutions depending on your budget and usage. No need to pay for applications you do not intend to use or do not apply to your business operations.
Long-term retention and archiving
Archiving files is easy with cloud technology. It retains data in a secure, encrypted way and drastically lowers your costs.
How to Select the Right Cloud Provider
All providers are different, which means when you switch from an on-prem solution, you need to partner with a vendor that can offer you precisely what you need while not making you pay for what you don’t.
Your vendor will have all the responsibility of installing, maintaining, and upgrading cloud systems. That’s part of the beauty of the cloud—no client administration. Your staff will also appreciate not having a system to deal with on a daily or weekly basis. There is no costly hardware or software to purchase or maintain, which amounts to huge savings.
If you are nervous about going to the cloud, keep in mind that many vendors are dedicated to proactive measures that combat security breaches. Take the time to investigate what is available to you via cloud communication solutions. Talk to vendors and see what they are offering. You can even consider repurposing existing equipment to make the transition seamless.
Ready to take the next step and explore the cloud strategy right for your business? Look at our cloud guide, Unlock the Right Cloud Approach for Your Organization, for a more in-depth look at different approaches to the cloud, and then request a free assessment. We will help you build a cloud environment that delivers the good benefits you can get your hands around.