Cloud Computing, Part 2: Benefits to Small Business

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In Part 1 of this post, we defined cloud computing in the simples of terms, explained the three service models for cloud computing, and discussed the most common risks of moving to the cloud, including security and regulatory compliance. We also talked about the need for redundant Internet connections and a reliable disaster recovery plan.

Don’t let those risks discourage you from evaluating a cloud computing strategy for your organization. Most risks are associated with a lack of preparation and knowledge. With proper analysis and planning, and the help of an experienced, reliable service provider, cloud computing will enable your organization to operate more efficiently and effectively.

Traditionally, small businesses would have to purchase various components of their own IT infrastructure, have a data center designed and built, and manage the network internally. This presents a major headache and expense for small business owners who wear a few dozen hats, have limited budgets and probably don’t have in-house IT staff and expertise to keep the network running smoothly.

The most important benefits of cloud computing to small businesses are the ability to purchase IT as an operational expense rather than a capital investment, and to minimize the business disruption and operational headaches associated with in-house IT deployments. Instead of buying and managing your own IT infrastructure, cloud computing lets you leverage the service provider’s state-of-the-art technology and expertise. Servers, storage, security and applications are provisioned, owned, managed, maintained and updated by the service provider so you can devote time to running and growing your business. Simply add or remove IT services as needed and pay for what you use.

Your network may be more secure in a cloud environment. Atlantic-IT.net’s Infrastructure-as-a-Service solution, for example, uses the most sophisticated security tools on the market, and the network is constantly monitored by full-time IT professionals. Data backup, once a time-consuming task for overworked IT staff, is automated and much more frequent. Server redundancy and tested disaster recovery plans prevent the loss of revenue and productivity.

Cloud computing also makes it possible for employees to access the network from virtually any Internet-connected device instead of being tied to a workstation in the office. This flexibility boosts productivity and enables users to respond more quickly to the needs of customers. If IT-related questions or issues arise, you don’t need someone onsite to handle IT support requests, and you don’t have to hire a costly outside support company.

Enterprise-class technology and certified IT engineers and technicians ensure that your network is reliable and available. Implementation of a cloud computing strategy is a relatively straightforward process for a qualified service provider, who can readily shift applications such as email, collaboration and conferencing tools, telephone systems, web and video hosting, and customer relationship management to the cloud.

As your outsourced IT department, Atlantic-IT.net takes the time to understand your business needs and processes, develop a strategic approach to cloud computing and determine if your IT environment is “cloud ready.” In an upcoming post, we’ll discuss what’s involved in a cloud readiness assessment and how your network can impact the effectiveness of cloud computing.