Small businesses are often the last to adopt new technology, either because they don’t have the necessary budgets or because they lack the expertise to install and maintain the appropriate infrastructure. Luckily for these types of organizations, cloud computing isn’t like most tech trends. It easily lends itself to being used by companies with limited budgets and technological knowledge.
According to research by industry analyst World Wide Worx, only 9 percent of small- and medium-sized businesses were using cloud services in 2012. Just two year later, however, that figure more than doubled, growing to 22 percent of SMBs in 2014. With improvements being made to bandwidth capacity, connectivity costs and Internet availability, the adoption of cloud computing among SMBs is likely to further explode in the near future. The shift toward a millennial-dominated workforce is also driving cloud adoption, according to Ivan Epstein, co-founder of IT service provider Softline.
“As a younger generation comes into the workforce, they are looking to use business IT resources online and on-demand in the same way as they use services such as Gmail and Dropbox,” said Epstein. “Cloud computing is essentially all about the move away from buying a software suite that you install on your computer towards accessing the software you need over the Internet and on a Web browser, wherever you are.”
It is understandable that smaller companies may be hesitant to completely overhaul their IT infrastructure, but SMBs that wait much longer to adopt the cloud risk being left behind by competitors. The cloud offers users a variety of benefits and competitive advantages, and the top five are listed below:
1) Less infrastructure and maintenance
As mentioned previously, many small businesses shy away from new technology because they lack the resources to maintain a large infrastructure. With a cloud platform, there is little to no upkeep necessary. The responsibility of IT maintenance, upgrades and resolving system issues is all up to the service provider, allowing companies to focus their employees on more business-critical projects.
2) Improved scalability
With traditional computing infrastructures, it can be difficult to quickly add capacity when demand increases or reduce it when traffic is slow. Cloud providers offer pay-as-you-go options that allow users to easily scale their service up or down in order to meet needs.
3) Transitioning is easy
The cloud makes things as easy as possible for new adopters. There is no hardware that needs to be installed, and as soon as a contract is completed, service is available. There are a wide variety of cloud-based applications and services, many of which cater to non-expert users to make processes easier.
4) More flexibility, better collaboration
The mobile aspect of the cloud means access is available anywhere at anytime. This allows users to work from anywhere while still being able to communicate and collaborate with coworkers.
5) Increased security
Perhaps the biggest benefit cloud computing offers SMBs is the ability to dramatically improve security standards. The risk of losing a hard drive or USB devices with sensitive files stored on it is eliminated when using the cloud because data is stored in online folders. Established cloud service providers also implement advanced security features like encryption to ensure protection of business-critical information.
To enhance the security of the cloud, companies can deploy Deep Freeze Cloud from Faronics and take control of system settings, administrative controls and account permissions. Deep Freeze Cloud is accessible from any cloud-connected device and can be leveraged to provide layered security to the enterprise workstations.