The impact of the pandemic has led to a dramatic rise in the number of small businesses adopting cloud technology. With nine out of ten companies now making use of cloud IT and 60 per cent of workloads being run in the cloud, it has become the go-to option for forward-thinking firms. By providing them with the same technologies used by larger rivals, but without the need for capital investment, the cloud delivers an affordable way to innovate, automate and become more agile. Here are just some of the ways small businesses are benefitting from cloud adoption.
Awesome power at low-cost
In the age of digital transformation, companies need hi-tech solutions to help them compete. While technologies such as data analytics, AI, machine learning, IoT and automation are widely used, a lack of financial resources has left many smaller businesses out of the loop. However, by migrating to the cloud, companies can have access to the necessary infrastructure without having to invest heavily in setting up an on-site datacentre. All the hardware is provided by the service provider and paid for on a pay-as-you-go basis.
Furthermore, the cloud offers the ideal set-up for fast and easy expansion, enabling companies to scale up or down their IT resources on-demand, helping them to increase capacity in line with growth and cope with spikes in demand in a convenient way. Expansion that would take considerable expenditure and days of work to set up in-house, can be had cost-effectively at the click of a button.
New normal adaptation
The pandemic has led many companies to reassess the way they operate, especially with regard to their working practices. Across the globe, swathes of employees are finding themselves able to ditch the commute and work more flexibly from home as executives seek to downsize offices.
Cloud technology is a key enabler of remote working, giving employees the ability to access the company’s IT resources anywhere with an internet connection. Firms can also make use of software as a service (SaaS) packages, providing them with a multitude of business applications, such as Microsoft 365, with which to carry out their work.
These technologies enable employers to offer flexible hours, recruit staff from further afield and reduce office occupancy. What’s more, they can also monitor staff productivity and task progress, as well as tracking inventory and shipping.
Over the course of the lockdown, the leading software companies have gone all out to improve the collaborative cloud-based applications that teams rely on. Existing apps have been enhanced and new ones created to provide far better video chat, messaging and document sharing platforms. Features such as group editing, instant syncing and project management, together with improved security, enable remote working teams to be assembled and collaborate on a wide range of initiatives.
Transformative technology in your hands
The cloud is the ideal place to benefit from today’s must-have technologies, like artificial intelligence, data analytics and the Internet of Things. Indeed, many of these are cloud-native, with applications that can be deployed at the click of a button in a cloud environment. What’s more, a lot of these cloud-based apps are open-source, meaning that they are free to use.
This means small businesses can take advantage of the cloud immediately, accelerating their ability to benefit from data-driven insights. As a result, they can reduce costs, improve operations and discover new opportunities much quicker than before.
While security is a concern for every business, small firms have an additional issue when it comes to providing the in-house security expertise and resources to keep their systems protected. Migration to the cloud removes many of these headaches as the service provider will undertake a great deal of this work on their customers’ behalf.
Cloud providers have to comply with stringent regulations to ensure their infrastructure is robustly secure. By migrating to the cloud, small businesses will be automatically protected by a wide range of sophisticated security tools, such as next-gen firewalls, intrusion prevention apps and malware scanners – all of which are managed and maintained by security experts.
Data loss can have a devastating impact on a business: taking its services offline, preventing it from trading and damaging its reputation. Swift recovery is essential to minimise the impact.
Cloud-based backups are the ideal solution for disaster recovery: they store data at a geographically separate location to your cloud server; they are encrypted for security and checked for integrity, and they can be scheduled to occur at the frequency a company demands.
Perhaps most crucially, they enable companies to restore data, and even entire servers, quickly and easily, ensuring that disruption is kept to an absolute minimum. And with 24/7 technical support, the issue of internal expertise is easily overcome.
The pandemic has accelerated the pace of digital transformation, with growing numbers of small firms adopting cloud technology in order to adapt to the new business environment. Its cost-effectiveness and easy scalability, together with its wide range of open-source, easily deployable applications, make it highly attractive to companies that want to take advantage of the technologies and insights it offers.