For many small businesses and entrepreneurs, modern technology just gets in the way. They didn’t start out in business to eat, sleep and drink the complexities of computers and software. Fortunately, businesses of all shapes and sizes – from startups to global conglomerates – are seeing the benefits too, and are beginning to utilize cloud computing in some capacity to streamline existing processes that have traditionally been lengthy and tiresome. The cloud is an evolution in information technology, giving businesses on-demand access to a shared pool of always-on, always synchronised online services and data, and it’s safe to say that adoption of cloud-based services is becoming widespread among SMEs.
In the UK, a new G-Cloud framework is being created to provide innovative cloud providers with a platform that allows them to connect with private sector organizations as well as public sector government departments. The current version of the G-Cloud framework has almost 3,000 suppliers, of which more than 90% are SMEs. By investing in the right blend of cloud services, businesses can not only streamline day-to-day operations, they can also improve data security and transform the bottom line. The Cloud Industry Forum (CIF) predicts that although cloud adoption will continue among small firms, a hybrid approach between native and cloud-based services will remain the status quo for many larger organizations. That’s because larger firms don’t have the flexibility that SMEs have in terms of ditching hardware assets for leaner cloud-based systems. Larger companies will have invested heavily in infrastructure already and are thus expected to phase out to the cloud more slowly.
The flexibility that the cloud offers is music to the ears of more scalable small and medium firms with fluctuating demands. Small businesses that have seasonal trends need an infrastructure that can be scaled up in the height of the peak season and scaled back when it’s quieter, saving them money in the process. Whether it’s storage space or software, startups and small businesses can pay for what they need. It’s also a cost-effective regime for startups that don’t have the immediate capital to purchase and maintain their own resources on-site. Cloud-based services are scalable, allowing businesses to adjust their usage based on their cash flow.
While it is true that most cloud-based systems are likely to be safer than on-site infrastructure, there are still IT headaches when migrating your data to cloud-based systems. Small businesses that operate applications in the cloud need to have in place a cloud security strategy that stops unwanted web attacks and prevents costly data breaches and downtime that can have negative effects on business reputation. Web application firewalls can improve the accuracy of cloud security and your ability to spot attacks. Considering this data is expected to be accessible from anywhere, different systems and algorithms need to be in place to catch cloud security breaches as compared to on-site breaches, for businesses and organisations.
Online threats are evolving day by day, and startups that operate in the cloud can also benefit from a security solution that integrates crowdsourced threat intelligence into its makeup. This allows security solutions to learn and wise up to emerging threats from wherever they derive around the world. Moving to the cloud can revolutionize most small businesses. It’s not only great for a business, it can be great for customers too, ensuring the best possible service and brand experience.