Cloud Computing Guidance for SMEs

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Cloud Computing Guidance for SMEs

By Erin Harrison

For enterprises, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to cloud computing solutions. The same is true for small and medium-sized enterprises (SME), which typically have fewer IT resources and can significantly benefit from outsourcing IT to the cloud, allowing managers to concentrate on the core business.

A panel of U.K.-based IT experts recently discussed their insight and opinions on what cloud computing can offer SME owners. Here are some of the highlights:

Cloud Qualities

There are specific qualities that a decent cloud service should have: It should be cost-competitive, highly scalable, highly resilient, and easy to set up and make changes to. And it should require very little support from you, according to Terry Parsons, chief technical officer at 192.com.

Cloud Costs

One of the biggest concerns among enterprises of all sizes is cost control, and there is the misconception that cloud is an expensive endeavor. On the contrary, cloud can be cheap, according to John Dryden, chief technology officer at IT Lab.

“An easy example is Microsoft Office 365 which gives you email, the Office suite and the ability to scale up or down, without any upfront cost. It's a lot cheaper,” Dryden said.

Physical Location

SMEs need to ask cloud service providers (CSP) where their servers and storage are physically located. The data center will either be one that the provider operates themselves, or one that is operated by a third party, according to David Barker, a technical director at 4D Data Centres.

Flexibility

One of the key benefits of cloud for SMEs is that information is remotely accessible, allowing employees to work anywhere, whether it’s at a desk or traveling, and still access the information they need, noted Emma de Heveningham, head of emerging products at EE.

If the applications and information you are using are available on multiple devices, in multiple locations, you can be productive anywhere.

Low Risk

Cloud allows businesses to start small and try out new services in a low-risk way.

“You don’t have to start with the big decisions about whether to migrate your email, your customer database and so on,” de Heveningham added. “You can start small, test out a few applications and then, once you’re ready, tackle some of the bigger IT decisions.”




Edited by Braden Becker

Executive Editor, Cloud Computing

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