Cloud Computing for SMEs
The emergence of newer technological solutions presents a substantial amount of opportunities for businesses. These developments serve as capabilities that firms can leverage to their advantage and grow competitively in ways not known before. One of these developments is cloud computing.
While larger corporations are commonly associated with sophisticated network infrastructure and use of programs, cloud computing has a lot to offer to small and medium enterprises (SMES).
This article will present how cloud computing can play a pivotal role for SMEs.
What is Cloud Computing
It refers to the storing of large amounts of data and other information via the cloud (in other words the internet) through remote servers instead of local servers. Configuring storage over the internet allows companies to consume data in the form of a utility like water or electricity, instead of building large servers in-house.
Cloud computing presents a paradigm shift in the way supercomputing methods of storing vast amounts of data are implemented. It is facilitated through pools of shared IT infrastructures that help increase accessibility and lower costs.
Advantages for SMES
Cloud computing has a plethora of advantages to offer SMEs. Here are the following:
Reduction in development and maintenance costs
SMEs are characterized by its low scale of operations that increase its cost per unit of output compared to larger corporations where the case is quite the opposite. By adopting cloud computing to manage data, costs are significantly brought down. This is because building and maintaining physical local servers is very costly with the costs of labor required to operate it effectively. Through cloud computing, SMEs save considerable amount of expenditure including power and energy costs.
High accessibility and flexibility
Cloud computing allows greater accessibility features that SMEs will not normally have otherwise. With shared information infrastructures, firms can be more flexible on consuming data and obtain it from anywhere provided they use internet. Also, its Pay-as-you-go model means that SMEs only use data when required.
Easy to administer
Not much is required in implementing cloud computing services. Cloud services, unlike physical data storage facilities, take far less time through APIs (application programming interfaces). This helps communication to be consolidated a lot quicker across the web.
Greater competitive leverage
SMEs, through the use of cloud services, do not have to become constrained by their limited resources and funds or scale of operations. Cloud computing allows SMEs access to astronomic amounts of data that allows them to reduce costs at substantial levels. As cloud services are implemented by companies of all sizes, there will be marginal differences between SMEs and larger corporations as business models on cloud will become similar.
More importantly, as business activities and functions will be performed through the cloud, it will free SMEs of the costs associated with expansion and new workers can be hired with greater ease from around the world.
There are a host of various benefits that cloud can offer to SMEs. However, certain assessments need to be considered to prepare for contingency and strategic plans.
Security health of cloud services
As more and more information is being stored on the cloud, the emergence of network security hacks and data leaks present critical problems for companies. SMEs need to carefully examine the security protocols put in place to prevent data hacks and other cyber attacks.
Training of staff
SMEs need to consider the technical expertise and skill-set required in staff to effectively operate cloud services to their advantage and business direction. What level of training or hiring changes do they need to make to ensure this? This is a question that SMEs must consider.
The market for cloud computing is growing almost exponentially as firms join the rat-race to store all of their information and account details online. However, what capabilities and resources can SMEs develop or acquire that can stand as contingency plans? What can SMEs do if the service provider of cloud computing exits the market or is bought by a larger corporation that can exert immense monopoly power in the market?
Cloud computing is the next stage for conducting business operations and is growing to become an integral part in the business landscape. However, with each opportunity comes its share of threats and challenges. Thus, SMEs need to be wary of these challenges in order to safeguard themselves from unforeseen factors.