Sunday, February 1, 2015

Cloud Computing: A blessing for small enterprises

The penetration of information technology (IT) has, perhaps, been the biggest blessing for small enterprises. Thanks to easy-to-use, accessible and value-for-money technological breakthroughs in the past two decades and more, smaller companies have access to facilities that only bigger corporations boasted of until sometime ago. Now reaching a stage of maturity in the market, cloud computing is one such aspect of IT.
Opting for cloud means neither having to worry about deployment and maintenance of the technology, nor investing heavily in the infrastructure either. Which means a small company, with limited resources, a small team and little funding, can now concentrate on its core competency and still manage to work as efficiently as a big industrial house. Here are some more reasons for you to look at cloud more closely if you are a small enterprise:
Flexibility: Opting for cloud means you can increase your resources when it is time to scale-up, and rationalise them during lean period. Which means not having to invest in infrastructure that might either lie idle, or realise you need to spend more. Start-ups find it tougher to predict their needs, thus making cloud a perfect option since you have the flexibility to choose big or small.
Spoiled for choice: From plain vanilla email services and accounting packages to more in-depth solutions such as CRM, apps, and ERP, cloud offers a host of choice for practically all industry sectors. Since the cost is usage-based, it is financially feasible, too.
Faster-quicker: You don’t have to set up an infrastructure, deploy an IT team for it or have a maintenance schedule lined up. You are ready to move ahead almost as soon as you have chosen your cloud service provider. It also means you and your team can work from anywhere, thus taking the load off a start-up that might still have its people work from home. Additionally, you don’t spend time taking back-ups, upgrade versions and so on, thus cutting down significant amount of time to focus on catering to the customer.
Security: The responsibility of protecting your data is that of your cloud service provider, who is far more equipped to do just that. The service providers have better security systems simply because it’s what they do – secure others’ data. They invest in better systems, have the correct infrastructure for the same, comply with best practices in security and have a well-trained staff for any emergencies.
Low operational costs: Contrary to what people believe in, investing in cloud computing might cost the same as investing in individual infrastructure in the long run. But cloud still wins hands-down considering other factors as stated above. Access to software, infrastructure or tech platform is already included in the service fee that is to be paid to the service company, usually on a monthly basis. On the financial front, it is the operating costs that are lower. These operational and overhead costs are borne by the service provider.