4 Benefits of Cloud Computing for Small & Midsize Businesses

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As your company expands, the demands on your tech capabilities and IT infrastructure can quickly outgrow your current setup. Being prepared for this change is necessary to avoid a decline in overall efficiency. To stay competitive, productive, and secure, you need tools and services that are adaptive enough to meet the challenges of a growing company. Your best bet may be to head for the cloud – and you won’t be alone. By 2020, a corporate "no-cloud" policy will be as rare as a "no-internet" policy is today, according to Gartner. Jeffrey Mann, research vice president at Gartner, predicts that "cloud will increasingly be the default option for software deployment.”

Cloud computing has materially changed the way that companies of all sizes do business. IDG Enterprise reports that 72% of organizations have at least one application in the cloud or a portion of their computing infrastructure in the cloud. SMBs everywhere are catching on, but if you’re still one of those that’s on the fence, here are a handful of reasons why the cloud is worth your consideration.

Work Anywhere and Everywhere

A recent survey released by Brother International indicated that 58% of small businesses’ regular work tasks require employees to be at their desks. In consideration of a typical SMB’s daily business needs, it’s become impractical (not to mention inefficient) to require over half of your staff to be in the office. Growing your business often requires your people to fly out to meet clients, close deals, or oversee projects. Additionally, your remote employees also need tools to help them work from their homes, customer offices, and airport coffee shops, across the country or globe. Forrester found that SMBs could save up to 45 hours per mobile worker with cloud services like Microsoft’s Office 365.

Scale to Your Need

Cloud computing allows you to grow, reorganize, and even downscale with more ease than ever before. Hosting (for applications, data backup, websites) can be taken care of from the cloud, without having to buy additional servers or take up physical space that you don’t have on-site. Microsoft Azure, for example, lets you do all three. Your capabilities aren’t hindered by lack of options, as Azure offers comprehensive cloud storage and enterprise-level security. In fact, Morgan Stanley’s 2016 survey of CIOs reported that they are more likely to use Azure than any other cloud-based platform over the next three years.

Lower Your Operational Costs

Cloud software services (typically known as software-as-a-service) are available to you on a subscription basis, meaning a set dollar amount each month and a more predictable spend on IT costs. Businesses from the Forrester study were able to save $18,000 in hardware upgrades, including servers and laptops, with Office 365. With a budget that doesn’t fluctuate month to month depending on what hardware-related or software upgrade issues need to be addressed, you can put the money you save toward growth-targeted projects or providing better IT infrastructure for your business.

Be Secure

With cyberattacks, email scams and data breaches on the rise, it’s natural that security in the cloud would be a top concern. However, a Forrester survey indicates that most IT security or strategy decision makers are actually already on-board with cloud computing. An astounding 98% of survey respondents felt integrated cloud security platforms delivered more effective results than point products. Cloud service providers will generally provide reliable security because it is in their best interest to do so, however, not all cloud vendors are created equal. It’s important to ask important questions up-front such as: Will your data remain your property? Who else’s data will be co-mingling with your data? Does the provider meet compliance standards? An IT partner with cloud experience can help you narrow down your options and choose a cloud vendor that best suits your needs and concerns.

Microsoft is consistently a top pick, allowing their company users to tap into enterprise-level security and all the benefits it provides. Using an “assume breach” stance as their security strategy, Microsoft’s global incident response team works around the clock to mitigate any attacks against the Microsoft Cloud, ensuring your company’s data is protected.

New functionality is developed each day, with cloud solutions increasing the reach and scope of what a small business can do. With decades-long experience, whether you’re already taking advantage of its benefits or considering a move, it helps to understand the importance of cloud computing for SMBs. With better scalability, security and mobility comes reliability and the ability to grow without breaking stride. Your customers may not care about your systems or how they work, but they do rely on their consistent and dependable performance. Cloud computing can provide the reliability you need to grow smartly while keeping your data as safe as possible.

iCorps has experience helping small and midsize businesses optimize their workflows through cloud migration, security, and outsourced IT services. We can help you build your business by analyzing your current IT environment and developing a strategic plan to optimize and expand your existing capabilities. Contact us for a cloud readiness assessment and to speak to one of our experienced team members.

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