Small business cloud computing forecasts estimate that 85% of U.S. small businesses are already taking advantage of the cloud, proving that the benefits of embracing cloud computing cannot be ignored.
Maybe you’ve been considering the cloud as a way to unite and automate certain processes, or as a way to add additional collaboration tools for your ever mobile workforce, taking advantage of services on the cloud can make your business more efficient and your data more secure.
However, before you decide on cloud solutions for your small business, there are a few questions that you need to consider.
What are your IT goals?
According to a Gartner study, the goals of small businesses moving to the cloud can vary, however there are a few top cloud services that make their decision easier.
- Disaster Recovery comes in as the top reason for businesses to move to the cloud, at 66%, because you can ensure that you have remote storage of all your business applications in case of emergency. Remote storage and backup ensures that if something happened to your physical computers, servers, or hard drives, the chances that everything is lost are minimized.
- The costs of physical hardware, servers, and space to store them are ever-increasing. Which is why 55% of SMBs make the move to the cloud. Reducing your infrastructure costs, along with the costs of staff to monitor them, are always top-of-mind for small to medium-sized businesses.
- Adding new users and services can be time-consuming and require constant management of access privileges. With cloud services, however, the ease of management and service scalability is why 46% of SMBs considered the cloud.
- IT is always evolving. With it comes an increased level of complexity that small businesses simply don’t have the time to constantly learn. According to the Gartner study, that’s why 38% of businesses made the jump to the cloud.
Whichever you’re trying to improve for your business, from the reasons listed above, services on the cloud make your business easier to run, grow, and profit.
Is your IT spend continuously growing?
As businesses grow, it’s inevitable that your infrastructure and hardware costs also grow with it. If you regularly see your IT budget getting dumped into big purchases to scale up your server, or to constantly repair ageing technology, then the lower total cost of ownership available through cloud computing could be pushing you to make the move to the cloud.
One of the great benefits for SMBs is that cloud services are often priced per unit, per use, or on an unlimited package. While enterprise business may take advantage of a pricier unlimited package, small businesses can see a greater return-on-investment from per-use fees that mean they’re only paying for what they’re using — yet have easy access to scalability to account for fluctuations in server allocation.
Is your IT team struggling to stay on top of trends?
If you have an internal IT team, are they stretched too thin trying to manage your complete infrastructure and therefore don’t have time to focus on innovative ideas that can move your business forward? If your business goals aren’t supported by your IT development and goals, it may be time to reduce some of the strain on your staff by opting for cloud solutions for your business.
Daily tasks that your IT team needs to keep an eye on include server backups, maintenance, and reboots. If these are things that they’re spending all of their time monitoring, they aren’t given the ability to be truly innovative.
On the other hand, if your business is relying on tech-savvy employees instead of an internal team, you could be wasting man hours on mundane tasks, and running the risk of falling behind in not only IT but in your business. A truly innovative SMB works strategically to implement technology that moves your business forward — instead of just focusing on keeping you afloat.
Are your staff already on the cloud?
A recent study found that 46% of employees are already using a personal cloud. Of those, 40% of them know that they’re going against IT rules, but are taking advantage of tools that increase their productivity or enable them to work from home.
In fact, 1/5 employees have uploaded sensitive company information to public file sharing programs.
If your business requires the storage or dissemination of confidential information, these behaviors simply won’t do. The fact of the matter is that your employees want to be able to work from the cloud, but your responsibility is to ensure that your customer or client information is always safe and secure.
Hybrid/private/public — which cloud is right for you?
Depending on the levels of security you require for your data, the types of software your business wants to work with, and if your business goals include increased collaboration, you’ll need to decide on the level of security within your cloud.
There are a number of different configurations available, from the openness of a public cloud to the security lockdown of a private cloud, but decisions will be different based on your compliance regulations and business requirements.
For a complete cloud assessment, choose the right cloud services provider, which can walk you through the steps to set up the cloud that suits your requirements.