Top tips for SMEs that want to join the cloud revolution
The benefits of the cloud for businesses are becoming clearer, but where should Middle East SMEs start when...
Organisations are under ever greater pressure today to do more with less, driving growth and business agility in an increasingly competitive marketplace. And yet cloud computing – in many ways the answer to their prayers – still suffers from an image problem, especially among business owners. So let’s dispel some of those myths and get to the heart of what cloud technology can do for business.
Cloud computing is no less secure than on-premise set-ups. As long as IT leaders do the correct due diligence on prospective providers, they’ll know where any security gaps are that need filling. Providers should be able to tell you exactly how and where data is stored and secured. The best Cloud Service Providers (CSPs) could even be accredited to higher security standards than your organisation. Remember, they do this for a living and cyber security is becoming a major differentiator in the CSP space.
Of course, productivity can be impacted if there are service interruptions, and the cloud is no different to on-premise set ups in having occasional availability issues. However, plan ahead properly and you can arrange to back-up to multiple cloud locations, actually improving availability through redundancy. Good cloud providers will also ensure you have maximum visibility into what’s happening whenever there is an issue or service interruption.
In reality, moving to the cloud can save money in several ways. It allows you to scale resources up and down so that you’re not paying for computing power you don’t need; it allows for more accurate and effective planning, as pricing is more predictable; there are no large upfront capex deployment costs; finally, you’ll get more productive staff and a more agile business.
Depending on the model you choose (SaaS, PaaS or IaaS), IT infrastructure is technically handed on to a third party, to a lesser or greater degree. However, due diligence should ensure that you have no future concerns regarding your provider’s SLA. A reputable provider will actually give you fine-grained control over your environment. In fact, multi-nationals spread across the globe will probably have much more control over disparate staff thanks to cloud computing, as long as they’re internet-connected. Flexibility and agility are vastly improved with cloud computing – it’s altogether quicker, easier and cheaper than the old hands-on, in-house model.
The industry is actually accelerating at a rapid rate. And for those who think it’s something new, cloud computing has actually been around in its current form since the mid-2000s. Once again, if your risk management and due diligence skills are up to it, there’ll be a provider to fit your needs.