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SMBs and the Cloud: Things to Consider Before Adopting Cloud Strategies

For a very long time, businesses had their documents filed in folders and stored in huge metal cabinets. But thanks to advances in technology, they were eventually coded and stored digitally. As we advance through the Age of Information, the traditional digital storage devices like the floppy, compact, and flash discs evolved into cloud storage. Eric Griffith, a contributor at PCMag.com, defines cloud computing as a “metaphor for the Internet.” In his article, he briefly explained that instead of accessing programs and data from a user’s hard drive, the cloud allows anyone to access or store data online.                                                                                     

The Cloud Infographic recently published a statistic revealing that in the next five years, the cloud will grow up to $8 billion dollars, and almost 70% of businesses are already utilizing cloud computing technology.

 

Despite the cloud’s advantages, there are some businesses that are still hesitant in adopting cloud storage for their businesses, especially the smaller ones.

However, since most of them can be exposed to data breaches and malicious attacks—according to a previously published report—it’s still one of the safest and most efficient ways of storing pertinent data. Now, what important things should they remember before committing to the cloud? Here are some things you should consider:

 

Designed for Mobility

 

Nowadays, most companies are adopting BYOD or Bring Your Own Device schemes to boost efficiency and productivity. “BYOD to Drive Data to the Cloud,” a story featured on Wired.com states that “the cloud offers the most cost-effective and least resource intensive way to secure data in the era of BYOD and ‘work anywhere’ computing.” This particular trend can benefit SMBs or Small-to-Medium businesses where they don’t have enough IT staff. Local storage-based solutions for the enterprise are costly, and most of them really want to stretch their dollar. Take O2’s Samsung Galaxy Note 4 for example; it shows us that this device is also built for business professionals, thanks to its security features. With the Samsung Knox, IT managers can now rest easy knowing that their network will always be secure. Also, it’s easier to host business-related apps on the cloud, which provides faster and cheaper roll-out costs to suit your needs.

 

Reduces IT Complexity in the Workplace

 

Bruce Campbell, Clare Computer Solutions’ VP for Marketing, said in a DailyTech interview that “cloud computing is introducing the notion of technology service as a utility, like lights, phone, and water.” He believes that although, most businesses are still using on-premise IT infrastructures, cloud solutions are slowly changing this trend. Also, Campbell has listed the three benefits that cloud computing can bring to SMBs:

 

They can switch costs between CapEx (Capital Expenditures) to OpEx (Operational Expenditures). This type of strategy will surely create a better cash flow for businesses, and possible tax advantages. The cloud offers them the ability to become more flexible; it allows businesses to add services, upgrades, or other changes in their existing IT network. Basically, it allows them to be more agile. It works well with existing BYOD schemes and helps empower employees. It allows them to access information and applications from almost anywhere. The cloud makes your workforce more mobile.

 

Provides Adequate Security for Your Business’ Data

 

Compared to physical, on-site data servers, the cloud is safer than the former. Since data will be stored in the cloud, it will be less likely for Trojan attacks and rogue employees from accessing it. Although, it may provide adequate security for any type and size of business, IT managers should still implement stricter security measures. With this new technology, old approaches to security won’t do and the cloud grows on a faster pace. The first thing to do is to identify databases that are highly-sensitive and to provide them with an extra layer of protection. Rolling out monitoring and encryption measures can help track data traffic within the network. Adding layers of advanced analytics can also allow entrepreneurs to have real-time visibility in both their cloud and devices connected to it. Remember that security will always be an important security perimeter.

 

The cloud isn’t just about personal computing anymore; it has found its way into small enterprises as well. Now, it’s all about “personalized computing” and it is the future of storage. It’s also important to understand that it won’t replace traditional storage; it allows anyone to optimize different storage solutions for our data needs.

 

 

Images courtesy of Isabel XD, Manager Web, Amer Sandhu  via flickr licensed under creative commons

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Tags: Cloud, Mobility, SMB, Security, Strategies, business, data

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