For some small businesses, moving their technology to the cloud can almost seem like pie-in-the-sky talk.
For some small businesses, moving their technology to the cloud can almost seem like pie-in-the-sky talk. Without proper insight, business owners accustomed to having all their technology on site – and even entrepreneurs launching a venture – will wonder what cloud computing entails, what sort of benefits and challenges it brings, and how much it costs.
It's understandable to have questions, even ambivalence, about placing vital business operations in the cloud, but success stories and numbers support it. Benefits include significant cost savings, increased security, improved flexibility and a greener footprint. Just think of cloud computing as a utility such as electricity or heat. Your business will pay only the amount of services used, while the cloud provider bears the cost and responsibility for building and maintaining the network.
Before sticking your head too far into the cloud, the first thing you should consider in your exploration of off-site computing is what best fits your business. There are three basic types of cloud services and it’s crucial to determine which one best suits your business operations and needs:
- Software as a Service (SaaS): Your applications are in the cloud, managed and controlled completely by a service provider.
- Platform as a Service (PaaS): Your applications are still in the cloud, but you have more control over them, with the service provider controlling only the underlying infrastructure.
- Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS): This is a more advanced cloud service, where you pay an on-demand fee to rent virtualized hardware but also have full control over the operating system, processing, storage, networks, and applications.
Whether you’ve owned a small business for a long time or are just starting one, there are many other factors to consider, but one of them is the benefit of flexibility. The cloud makes it easy for businesses to scale IT resources up or down as needed. And it gives small businesses access to enterprise-class resources that were formerly beyond their reach.