More and more small and medium businesses are adopting cloud services in one way or another. Indeed, 91% of companies with less than 100 employees say it’s a priority. Below, we've chosen the top six ways your company could benefit.
1. Lower upfront costs with cloud computing
Finding budget for IT deployments is a constant struggle for many start ups. It represents a large spike in outgoings, which can make business owners reluctant to undertake projects that could drive growth.
Cloud consumption models can change all that. You only pay for what you use each month and can adjust the resources you consume instantly in many cases. This transforms huge capital outlays into relatively predictable monthly payments. Most cloud providers also offer discounts if you commit to certain services for a year or more.
Find out more about how Cisco can help small businesses benefit from the cloud.
2. More time to concentrate on your business
Resources are tight in small businesses. Even if you have a dedicated IT department, chances are you’d rather they spent time developing new services and optimising existing ones over handling routine maintenance, troubleshooting routers or updating mail desktop software. The more you don't have to worry about, the better it is!
The good news is that cloud providers handle things like software updates, backups, logging and monitoring. Even when you are renting virtual infrastructure with an IaaS offering, all that hardware patching, updating and looking after hardware goes away.
This frees up you and your staff to spend time on high-value work that will move your business forward.
3. Easy access to state-of-the art computing services
There was a time when using artificial intelligence, machine-learning or data-analytics products required staff with post-graduate degrees, as well as a huge investment in specialist hardware and software. Now, the leading public cloud providers offer services that novices can use to develop proofs of concept in these high-growth areas.
And you can set up small-scale test models within a few hours for tens of dollars, so the cost of failure is minimal.
Small businesses finally have on-demand access to the compute resources that were once the exclusive preserve of giant enterprises – and it’s created a more level playing field for innovation.
4. Industry-leading security
The idea of putting your business-critical data on “someone else’s computer” can be worrying, but keep in mind that Cloud providers invest heavily into making sure their data centres are physically and digitally secure, because their business depends on it.
Of course sensitive data may always need to stay within the company private network and data centre, but with the proper precautions, small businesses can achieve compliance in the cloud as easy as on-premises.
Find the right networking and security products for your business with our Small and Medium-Sized Business Product Selector tool.
5. On-demand scalability
Now is an unpredictable time for any business. You don’t want to over-invest in IT for a project that’s not guaranteed to succeed. The good news is that the cloud lets you increase or decrease the resources you consume on the fly, and the cost will rise and sink accordingly.
Building software for internal or external use and not sure what size database or storage your next project will need? With cloud services, you can start small and add more as it grows. You can also easily automate this up- and down-scaling to respond to incoming web traffic, or even turn resources off at night or over the weekend to save money. The same approach applies to just consuming SaaS of course!
6. Protected data
It can be a little troubling to think that data that has been removed from the cloud can still exist on a hard drive somewhere.
But there's a positive side too.
No matter how many times you click "save" on that all-important document – as long as it’s sitting on your laptop’s single hard drive – it’s only one disk failure away from disappearing forever.
You can assume that with SaaS applications, there is a whole fault-tolerant array of disks that works at your disposal, with regular checks and backups, meaning that your work is less likely to be lost at any given time.
Can your small business afford to keep losing work to human or hardware error?
So, whatever your use case, cloud will provide your business with benefits both now and in the future, as your business and the technology evolves. To delve deeper, read this article to find out how you can choose the best type of cloud for your business.
Try Cisco's cloud based solutions for yourself with free trials for Meraki, Stealthwatch, and Umbrella.
About the AuthorMore Content by Kostas Roungeris