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Small Business Digest


The Cloud Offers Advantages To Small Businesses

Navigating nearly any market as an SMB is no easy task.

But despite the speed of economic downturn, always-evolving technologies, competition from conglomerates with larger budgets and other problems that plague small and medium businesses, smart companies are finding help with cloud technologies.

According to Rich Waldis, Chief Technical Officer of Integratec Services, LLC, issues many small businesses still face include a lack of internal resources and backup systems that help ensure business critical data and functions are not lost after a disaster or breach.

Waldis adds. “Many firms still rely on legacy storage systems or hardware that take time and manpower to maintain. These can also be costly to upgrade. For businesses that work in highly regulated industries or with large clients, the time and costs associated with maintaining secure and available data storage and backup systems can become overwhelming.”

He argues, “Cloud computing – the growing practice of storing, managing and processing data on a network of remote servers hosted on the Internet instead of a local server or a personal computer – proves helpful for small businesses on the IT front as well as on an ROI basis. Through the cloud, employees can access data from anywhere, not just the office. The cloud is secure and readily available, providing easy access to employees and customers.”

Waldis believes small businesses should always consider the following when determining whether to outsource cloud resources:

  • Time. As business days expand past the 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. scenario, small businesses need all the help they can get to ensure data is safe and secure at all times. Outsourcing cloud maintenance can help ensure business critical data is protected 24/7.
  • Bandwidth. Fewer employees and limited resources can affect backup and recovery plans; it also takes employees away from vital day-to-day transactions. Through hiring a third party provider employees are able to focus more on business rather than backup.
  • Expertise. Many small businesses do not have the financial resources to hire the staff needed to develop and maintain strong data backup and recovery. As a result, they are forced to use staff with limited experience, increasing the chance of error and data loss. Third-party cloud providers already have the experience and expertise needed to ensure data is always secure and available.

Though it can appear overwhelming, utilizing cloud computing for data backup and recovery can save SMBs vital time and resources and help staff focus what they do best.

If cost is an issue, small businesses can look to third-party managed cloud providers to help handle business critical data. Good cloud providers offer security and the ability to scale up or down as business needs demand. Utilizing a provider also frees up internal resources to balance an increasing load; the provider handles the work so employees can focus on business operations. Changeover to the cloud is also relatively easy, and – depending on the provider – can often be completed over a weekend.

Rich Waldis is chief technical officer of Integratec Services, a real estate investment management software and services company.

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