The Business Benefits of Cloud Computing for SMEs
Cloud computing services are becoming increasingly critical for SME’s. With the burgeoning economic pressure placed on London-based businesses, together with fast-changing trends and digital challenges that impact scalability, CEO’s and office managers are scrambling to find solutions.
A growing number of SME’s in London are adopting cloud computing. Cloud adoption among UK firms in general is up to 88% because of its capacity to minimise IT costs whilst improving flexibility, streamlining operations and enhancing security.
Todays SME’s rely on an IT infrastructure to improve the running of their business. The irony is, IT departments are expensive, hardware is cumbersome, and software soon becomes outdated and needs upgrading. Traditional IT systems do not operate at optimum performance.
Furthermore, 49% of IT managers have a strategic role in driving a business forward yet the majority of IT departments are seen as a hole in the bucket. Investing in office-based technology is a paradox most SME’s cannot afford to risk.
Cloud computing, on the other hand, provides solutions SME’s cannot afford to ignore
1. Cloud computing cuts costs
For CEO’s with a fragile budget, switching to cloud computing is a no-brainer. You only pay for services you need and the low monthly fees cut down on hefty software and hardware costs. Not only that, but with a third-party support team in place, you can afford to soften your wage bill.
Furthermore, there is no need for cumbersome servers to be installed in your offices. This not only only saves on energy costs but creates more office space which you can use to expand other departments that increase the productivity and profitability of your company.
2. Reliability and availability
Cloud computing gives you unlimited data storage whilst freeing up space on your dedicated server. This makes your systems run efficiently without overloading your servers and crashing. As a result, your staff will experience less downtime. Furthermore, automatic backup means you don’t lose any work.
Cloud computing service providers also take responsibility for monitoring, maintaining and upgrading system networks. Using advanced tools, system administrators can detect potential problems and rectify the issue before the network crashes.
3. Collaboration and convenience
To improve productivity, SME’s need to be flexible. Storing files in the cloud enables your staff to access files from anywhere on any device. This provides more convenience for employees on the road or that have chosen to work from home.
Sharing files is also much easier. Your staff can therefore collaborate on projects much more easily, even from remote locations. When files are stored online, project teams can work together and update documents in real-time.
With cybercrime on the rise, there is intense public scrutiny on a company’s ability to protect their personal data. Cloud computing can help to provide a solution by adding an extra layer of security to your defence systems.
Data that is stored in the cloud is encrypted in order to block hackers attempting to intercept files. Furthermore, advanced technology can identify corrupted files and incubate viruses to prevent them from spreading and putting your entire network at risk.
5. Scalability and flexibility
The digital arena is maturing quickly. As a result of new technologies and consumer behaviours, SME’s can struggle to keep up with the pace of the marketplace. No sooner have you installed a new program, and it needs updating with improved software or faster hardware.
Taking advantage of cloud computing services negates the need to constantly invest in a traditional IT infrastructure. Software is easily accessible and affordable, and pay-per-use models mean you are flexible enough to adapt to changing markets without burning your budget.
What to expect from cloud computing services
There are several different types of cloud computing services and a wide range of technologies and products to choose from. Although cloud computing service providers will have slightly different business models, you will have access to powerful resources together with a dashboard that enables you to take control of your business needs.
The types of cloud-based services are infrastructure as a service (IaaS), platform as a service (PaaS) and software as a service (SaaS). Although each type is a separate service, you can integrate all three and create a comprehensive cloud computing stack.
When considering cloud services that will most benefit your business, look at your core structure and look to incorporate essential elements your business cannot operate without.
Some examples of essential cloud technologies include:
File sharing and syncing – Autotask Workplace
Sharing files and syncing multiple devices enhances the quality of your operations and improves user-experience. You can expect to see more productivity together with increased security. Autotask Workplace is an industry leader that offers tools competing software does not, such as mobile management.
Email and Skype – Outlook 365 Business
Out-dated email systems and landline phones are systematically being replaced by cloud communications. Microsoft’s Outlook 365 heads up a strong line-up of competitors thanks to its advanced data and security controls, accessibility, management tools, 50GB storage and cost-effective licence fees.
HR – PeopleHR
PeopleHR is a centralised hub that enables your human resources team to perform all their admin duties from one place together with methods to track, monitor and record employee performance. The software is proving to be reliable and effective and is receiving excellent customer reviews.
Cloud based server and storage – Microsoft Azure
Microsoft is a dominant presence in SME offices and with Azure, the company has gone out if its way to simplify the process of creating and managing cloud-based assets. Solutions include hosting, backup, application development, eCommerce, monitoring, data analysis and much more.
With 88% of UK companies having already adopted cloud technology, those that haven’t, risk being left behind. Cloud computing gives SME’s the freedom and flexibility to grow. Payment structures based on a per user/ per month rates provide scalability to any small and medium size businesses.
To learn more about how cloud computing could help your business get in touch with us today.
Or read more about our cloud computing services here.