5 Reasons Why Your Small Business Must Adopt the Cloud
Cloud computing is not a new concept, and most large organizations and companies use it as an essential service of their operations. However, small and medium-sized businesses are still reluctant to move their data elsewhere.
While it is natural to think that on-site data systems are safer and easier to maintain, the current state of cloud services makes them obsolete, slow, and even riskier from an IT security point of view. Furthermore, if your company is using services such as Gmail, Google Drive, or Dropbox, you are already using the cloud, but without the added security of a dedicated solution.
According to a Gartner Report in 2016, it was expected that 51% of SMBs would switch to using cloud services full-time by 2020. And they were not wrong! More and more small businesses make the switch because it is safer, cheaper, and a lot more efficient than maintaining your own data server.
But if you’re still on the fence about this, have a look at the top five reasons we listed below you must at least be open to the idea of adopting cloud-based technology.
#1: Millennials are the New Workforce
The workforce is changing, and millennials (the majority of new employees) are expecting to use modern tools that allow for project collaboration and remote work.
Young professionals understand the power of easily accessible solutions and adapt easily to most new technologies. As a result, you’ll have to invest less in their training if your IT system is up to date with the trends.
Moreover, millennials seem to prefer small businesses because they offer more flexibility and a better chance to have them involved in important projects. However, if you want them to stay with your company, they must be allowed to incorporate modern technology into their work life.
#2: The Technology is Easily Accessible
Nowadays, the market is saturated with cloud service providers! Furthermore, as a new customer, you have the chance to score a great deal and get some interesting extra features.
Moreover, it only takes several seconds to deploy a cloud server and even less time to install a cloud application from an online marketplace. Now, compare this with the time it takes to install a local server, run updates, and keep it safe from various attacks and local users (usually, the weakest link is the human staff).
#3: It’s Easy to Manage
Businesses have two main options when it comes to cloud services:
- Implementing a homogenous environment – where most services are handled by one provider.
- Opting for a heterogeneous environment – where businesses use a wide variety of cloud applications and services.
We consider that the first type of environment (homogenous) is a perfect fit for most SMBs out there. If you’re not using complex cloud solutions and your needs are fulfilled by email, storage, an online collaborative space, and video conferencing, a provider like Google (with their G Suite offer) should be enough.
This keeps things simple and easier to manage, especially when it comes to IT security.
On the other hand, if you need more diverse apps, you may need to implement a heterogeneous environment, with multiple vendors. This is not a bad situation, it’s just a bit more challenging to manage and may involve more costs.
For example, in our business, we use G Suite for communication and documentation but also use Xero for accounting & Happy HR for our HR needs. We use Managed Service Provider specific applications such as: Autotask, IT Glue, Solarwinds Remote Monitoring & Maintenance and a few others.
#4: More Flexibility
The use of cloud-based solutions gave birth to a new concept called shadow IT. This signifies that employees and people associated with your organization can use hardware, software, web services, and cloud applications without the express consent of the IT department.
As a result, people have more flexibility when it comes to where they work and with what, which can lead to better time management and goal completion. Still, there is a negative aspect to shadow IT, because it poses a significantly increased risk when it comes to data breaches.
For instance, even the apps on a seemingly harmless Android phone can be a security threat. According to Cnet, there are over 1000 apps that steal data without the knowledge or consent of their users.
That’s why we recommend an approach where only certain devices and users can connect to your database, based on access rights. It may hinder flexibility a little bit, but it is worth the cost of losing sensitive information.
In our experience, we found that application whitelisting helps with flexibility and keeps security at high levels. In fact, this practice is part of the Essential Eight Security Recommendations from the Australian government.
#5: More Affordable
Finally, cloud solutions are more affordable than having your own data server. Users have the option of selecting a package that fits their needs, with the possibility to scale up if necessary. This package usually requires a monthly or annual fee, that is easy to cover even by a startup.
Furthermore, these packages also include management and security features, scheduled maintenance, and more. A Managed Services Provider who specialises in Cloud technology (make sure they are either a G Suite Partner or Microsoft Partner) can do this at a fraction of the cost of hiring full-time IT staff.
Overall, while it may seem scary, the switch to the cloud comes with plenty of benefits for small and medium-sized businesses everywhere. Not to mention that you have access to highly trained experts, like the Onsite Helper team, who can help with the migration, maintenance, and overall system administration.
The world is changing at a fast pace, and if you want your business to survive, it’s time to embrace the cloud!