This is not a technical how-to – it’s a discussion about where cloud computing is today for small to medium-sized businesses. Is it time for your business to move to the cloud? Where is cloud computing at today?
Cloud Facts for SMBs
62% of SMBs are using some type of cloud application now, up significantly from a year before. (Gartner’s Technology Research Group, December 2012)
“The bottom line: Early adopters are finding serious benefits, meaning that cloud computing is real and warrants your scrutiny as a new set of platforms for businesses applications” (Q&A: By 2011, CIOs Must Answer The Question, “Why Not Run In the Cloud?”, Forrester Research, INC., August 2009)
“…among small to mid-sized businesses, cloud computing is gaining critical mass, with more than 35 percent of businesses at least in trial stages for public and private cloud computing deployments” (F5 Study Shows Cloud Computing Gaining Critical Mass, F5, August 2009)
“..most businesses will eventually exploit cloud-based services for a significant portion of their information services over time and, in the long run, a majority of these implementations will be hybrids” (“Predicts 2009: Cloud Computing Beckons, Gartner, Inc., December 2008)
The majority of this growth in SMBs is happening because of large scale adoptions, online file sharing, and productivity applications, including Skype, Office 365, Google Apps, SalesForce, Mozy, SkyDrive, EverNote, Dropbox, and many more.
What drives this interest?
Why are small businesses interested in cloud computing? A major influencer is the need for lowering and fixing the cost of business, accessibility, safe and secure data storage, affordability versus on-site hardware, scalability, and compliance.
There are advantages of cloud computing that can help you save on the cost of IT. Cloud solutions also make data accessible, meeting the needs of the rising number of home-based and remote workers. Over the past years, overall safety and security of data storage in the cloud has also become more established. Cloud solutions can also help avoid on-site hardware costs can suit just a few users to hundreds of users – the scalability piece is an essential factor if your SMB is going to be growing and you want to avoid some of the painful size thresholds for other solutions with on-site hardware.
You can also consider a number of SMB drivers such as productivity (email, CRM, accounting, and databases), IT (virtualization, IT service and support, backup, storage, voice, and security), and other (marketing, training). Many of these services are moving in great numbers to the cloud.
What does the cloud offer?
Cloud computing for SMBs has moved to an enterprise-level service. A large number of services are now available, with consistent delivery and pay-as-you-go models rather than large capital investments.
Some of the benefits of the cloud are:
- The ability to convert capital expenses to lower operating costs and get instant scalability
- Efficient data center design and greener IT, with less environmental impact and lower carbon footprint
- Solid, reliable global data centers that provide enterprise-class service accountability
- Comprehensive, standardized security processes
- Consistent, connected experiences to give you synchronized software and services across multiple devices
- But you don’t need to convert entirely to cloud to gain these benefits: you can choose a hybrid model with the traditional on-site server and a cloud solution. Your cloud solution can complement your on-premise setup.
Why consider the cloud?
The cloud will continue to offer unmatched breadth and depth of services, helping you boost agility and reduce costs and carbon footprint. It can deliver enterprise-class services, accountability, reliability, and security. You get the power of choice to use software, services, or any combination of both on-site and in the cloud