Cloud computing, the offloading of company data functions to offsite cloud providers, has been hailed as the tool that’s enabled the decentralization of business during the COVID economy. It’s also become utterly mainstream in business, with Cisco reporting that 92 percent of data workloads were handled in 2020 by cloud computing. The same report also showed that the United States led the globe in cloud computing workloads.
How can cloud computing benefit small- to medium-sized business?
If you’re a small- to medium-sized business, you may be wondering how you make the transition to local data operations to the cloud. Is it right for your business? For an increasing number of growing companies, the answer is yes. They’re finding Software as a service (SaaS), data storage solutions, cloud-based security, ERP, customer service, and more can be migrated to the cloud quickly and affordably. As the pace of business continues to quicken, many small businesses are finding that cloud computing offers unprecedented flexibility and efficiencies of scale that can help them achieve their growth goals, for less.
Procoders-Ukraine CEO Oleg Kopachovets works extensively with cloud-based services in his work for overseas clients.
“I often tell clients that using cloud services is a lot like the cost-shifting benefits you get from hiring an IT consulting firm. You shift the cost of your data center, or the software, or the service, or whatever you’re buying from the cloud from being a hard internal cost to a regular, monthly fee.”
“This can be a really wonderful thing for a small to medium sized business,” Kopachovets adds. “You don’t have to worry about the cost of upgrading equipment, or costly updates that create work slowdowns for your staff. There’s a reason why we’ve reached a tipping point for companies migrating their business to the cloud. It’s just good business.”
Advantages of cloud computing in the SMB setting
Lowered equipment costs
What’s cheaper? Purchasing racks of servers or simply paying one monthly subscription fee to put it all in the cloud? For most companies, that’s not hard math. When compared with the cost of handling all IT functions on site, cloud computing nearly always saves a company money. In fact, KPMG reports that most companies they surveyed were saving between 30 to 40 percent as a result of migrating to the cloud.
Less money spent on maintenance
When you offload to the cloud, you offload not just equipment costs, but the costs of employees to run and maintain that equipment. You also reduce the need for the square footage to house, cool and maintain your equipment, too.
Less money spent on software
Software-as-a-Service has become so common most companies aren’t bothering with purchasing user-by-user software packages anymore. When you purchase software (SaaS) services through the cloud, you also offload the service around those programs, and never have to worry about complicated system wide updates. All that is handled for you, automatically.
Improved security and disaster recovery
According to a latest survey by Sophos, the average ransomware attack can cost a company up to $2 million. Despite this liability, the majority (54 percent) of the IT security experts surveyed said their companies didn’t have the inhouse expertise to deal with this kind of high-level security risk.
Offload your data storage and software operations to the cloud reduces your exposure to hackers significantly. After all, it’s a lot harder to hack Amazon or Google than it is an individual company. And when floods, or power outages or wildfires threaten your business, you can rest easy knowing that your cloud-based business can still work, decentralized from your data center. Why not take advantage of the resources the big players can offer your small business?
Perhaps one of the biggest things small businesses struggle with is how to scale up their operations quickly. Making equipment purchases, housing equipment and paying people to keep internal functions running can get expensive quick. Cloud computing eliminates that problem completely, allowing you to purchase what you need, and only what you need, for a simple flat fee. And if you pivot your business plan, no worries. You can drop whatever services you’re using and move onto the next one.
Planning your migration
Whether you are integrating software as a service, platform as a service, infrastructure as a service or security as a service, the decision to invest in cloud computing may have to do with the cost of making the migration.
“When you’re bringing in cloud computing, the first consideration a business must take is an inventory of all the applications they use—everything that a CEO uses to the time keeping software the receptionist might be using,” said Sitima Fowler, partner at national IT services firm Iconic IT.
“Migration is a process.”
“Then an evaluation should be done to determine whether these applications can run in the cloud optimally. Chances are, not everything can be move to the cloud at once. It’s a journey and we generally to do it one by one, starting with the main line of business software and email. After that we implement a central identity management system to authenticate every user. We give them access to only to the applications they need to get their job done, optimizing the process for how users work and their respective security levels. Migration is a process.”
Listen up: To dive deeper into trends surrounding cloud computing hear what other IT leaders are doing in the cloud in 2021 with this recent Datamation podcast.