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The cloud is an appealing resource for SMBs, but security and other concerns plague decision makers

Small and mid-size businesses need to stretch every dollar in their budget as far as they can, which means closely evaluating new technologies before deployment.  A look at cloud computing yields numerous benefits, but SMBs have a long list of questions and concerns before migrating to the cloud.

The State of SMB IT 1H 2013 Semi-Annual Report on Small and Midsize Business Technology Plans & Purchase Intent indicates 69 percent of SMBs with 20 or less employees already use some type of cloud-based solution – and that number will increase in the future.  

Once implemented properly, cloud computing is ideal to change – and reduce IT complexity – in the workplace.

“Cloud computing is introducing the notion of technology service as a utility, like lights, phone or water,” said Bruce Campbell, VP of Marketing for Clare Computer Solutions, in a statement to DailyTech. “It’s still ‘dipping toes in the water’ time – the concept of a company’s technology resources and services being delivered by on-premises infrastructure is still the prevailing model, but bit-by-bit, that is changing.”

Such widespread adoption – and interest – from SMBs has led to a number of different vendors, especially with cloud solution spending expected to ramp up by 2017. There are a few different challenges facing SMBs and other companies looking to embrace cloud computing practices.

“Understanding how the technologies they need can be delivered as a service is a challenge. With the cloud model, the Internet connection becomes paramount, and the costs for adequate reliability, redundancy and bandwidth must be factored into the ROI discussion. Also, at this point, not ALL services lend themselves to a cloud delivery model.”

DailyTech asked Campbell to list three benefits of cloud computing that SMBs could benefit from:
  1. Technology costs switch from Capital Expenditure (CapEx) to Operating Expenditure (OpEx) – this can create significant cash flow advantage (and possible tax advantages).
  2. Business agility – with cloud services, additional services or upgrades or changes to services can be added and adjusted quickly and easily.
  3. Cloud services mesh well with the modern Mobile Workforce, and the “Bring Your Own Device: movement as well. In other words, often, cloud services are available anywhere, and from any device.”
A proper risk assessment must be done when SMBs are thinking about migrating on-prem solutions into the cloud. Whether a company has an internal IT team or outsources support through an outside vendor, it’s a discussion IT managers need to discuss with company decision makers.

There are a number of cloud computing white papers aimed towards the SMB and enterprise, discussing the topic further. Remember that managed service providers are steadily relying more on selling cloud software and services over the next two years, so be prepared to do independent research into each product discussed.

Migrating to the cloud provides countless benefits to SMBs, but that doesn't mean they should blindly jump into the market.  The future ahead looks promising, but research and patience are still highly recommended.

Sources: Forbes, Clare Computer Solutions



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