There’s no doubt about it. The future of business resides firmly in the Cloud.
While the trend of businesses transitioning to the Cloud is not new, there is little doubt it has been accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic. And with remote and hybrid work environments being the new normal, it’s more important than ever that small and medium-sized businesses are able to leverage the potential in Cloud technologies.
Why your business should evolve to the Cloud
According to the Cloud Industry Forum (CIF), around 48% of UK SMEs have adopted Cloud technologies in some form. However, a 94% satisfaction rate is driving significant further investment in Cloud computing services for small businesses. In fact, the CIF estimates that 98% of UK SMEs will have adopted Cloud technologies within the next few years.
That means that utilising the Cloud is already a critical competitive factor for UK SMEs. And Cloud computing and small business are not mutually exclusive.
Why? Because of the unprecedented benefits that the Cloud has to offer.
Below are the top 5 reasons why Cloud computing and small business should go hand-in-hand:
Scale with demand and deliver services quicker
In a typical on-premise ecosystem, you would have to build new systems from the ground up as you grow your business. This means buying new hardware for storage or servers. Hiring the workforce to install and maintain them. Installing the necessary software and ensuring everything is configured correctly. A costly and time-consuming business.
In contrast, Cloud providers can typically make Cloud Computing services for small business available at the touch of a button – from collaboration and productivity applications like Microsoft Teams to powerful ERP and CRM tools for SMEs like Microsoft Dynamics 365 and Business Central. Compared with the average SME, providers of Cloud products have near-limitless resources. This is why they can allow you to scale your resources operations more or less at will. Just by clicking a button or dragging a slider.
The vast array of Cloud services that are available for small businesses today also mean you can secure the exact type of offering you need. IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service), SaaS (Software as a Service), PaaS (Platform as a Service), XaaS (Everything as a Service), CaaS (Computing as a Service) – you name it.
Generating these type of services in an instant drastically cuts down on lead times – and makes it less costly to pivot or abandon projects. Which is particularly attractive to budget constrained SMEs.
Build more business resiliency
Time is money and every second of downtime equals lost opportunities for your business.
Cloud providers for small business know that being able to offer business continuity is a competitive factor. That’s why these providers invest heavily in fault-tolerant architectures and robust backup and recovery systems. For example, it’s typically not feasible for an SME to procure data centre resources across the globe to ensure they have geographic redundancy in order to support customers around the world. However, this is something that’s expected of Cloud services today.
This allows Cloud providers to make lofty promises such as 99.99% uptime guarantees which are fully backed by strong SLAs. In fact, backup and recovery tools are typically provided out-of-the-box alongside Cloud services. This means you get all the peace of mind these essential services provide with minimal configuration or ongoing maintenance.
Reduce costs through more cost-effective Cloud infrastructure
For SMEs without the seemingly limitless resources of enterprise-scale businesses, price is always an essential factor. Alongside value of course.
As a decision-maker in a small business, you might be wondering how much transitioning to the Cloud will actually cost and whether it’s sustainable.
Depending on your needs and current standpoint, you might need some initial investment. However, the good news is that moving to the Cloud generally leads to lower costs in the short, medium, and long term due to:Reduced hardware costs: You can effectively rent hardware and storage space from a Cloud provider instead of housing all your data and computing resources on-premise. This usually works out at a fraction of the cost of procuring your hardware.
- Less labour and maintenance: It requires specialized manpower to manage physical hardware. Routine maintenance, frequent updates, occasional upgrades and replacements and repair bills all add up over time. You avoid more or less all of this on the Cloud.
- Lower initial capital investment: By off-loading your infrastructure needs to the Cloud, you can save in many other areas. Without hardware and with employees working from home, you can reduce office space and utility bills.
- Higher productivity and less wasted time: Time is money. Accessing Cloud infrastructure for individual projects is quicker and cheaper.
And you can really maximize the opportunity here by working with a specialist Cloud services provider who knows how to quickly and easily configure, support and develop the type of business applications your company needs.
Support remote and hybrid working
One modern-day trend the Cloud seems purpose-built for is supporting remote/hybrid working environments. In fact, a key pillar of Cloud technologies is that they can be accessed from anywhere at any time.
From a communication standpoint, Cloud technologies allow for both synchronous and asynchronous communication between individuals and teams. Messages are relayed instantly via chat, email, or message boards. And, there, it’s usually easy to link conversations between various channels.
Tying it all together, there is typically a centralized environment. This ensures everyone has access to the same resources. Changes and updates are also synchronized in real-time so that everyone is on the same page on everything from projects and budgets to how the sales pipeline is looking on an hourly basis.
All of these characteristics make it easy to visualize, execute, and monitor projects from start to finish.
Enhance IT security and data protection
Understandably, security and data protection are two of the chief concerns of migrating to the Cloud.
After all, it might seem evident that public Cloud services are less secure by definition.
However, there are several reasons why that’s not necessarily the case:
- Cloud providers have substantially more resources than the typical SME. They have the funds to invest billions of dollars in Cloud security and pass the benefit on to their customers
- Second, Cloud providers have developed substantially more CyberSecurity best practices, tools and people expertise. This is partly thanks to their years of experience operating in the Cloud industry. It’s also due to tightening regulations and industry standards, such as the GDPR, CCPA, ISO 27001, and Cyber Essentials (in the UK)
- Many Cloud platforms today feature security as “built-in by design.” That means customers can benefit from advanced security measures, such as zero-trust, user access management, encryption, MFA, network segmentation, and continuous monitoring without having to implement it themselves.
- Cloud providers have clear incentives to uphold high-security standards. A data breach or downtime can lead to millions of pounds in losses. It can also lead to further legal action by the authorities or affected customers.
Instead of setting back your CyberSecurity, working with a trusted Cloud solutions provider who has Cyber Security accreditation – like for example the Government backed Cyber Essentials programme – can enhance it. Many of these protections will also extend to your customers.
It’s never too late get on the Cloud – talk to us now!
So, is it too late to capitalize on the benefits of the Cloud? Have you missed the bus on it?
Thankfully, the answer is no. It’s never too late to transition your SME to the Cloud. However, the longer you wait, the further you’ll slip behind your established competitors and industry disruptors.
As an expert provider of managed Cloud hosting solutions, we can help streamline Cloud adoption and align it with your goals. We specialize in delivering tailor-made and specialized Cloud solutions for small businesses in the UK.Need to learn more? Contact us now for a no obligation of your current set up and Cloud needs.