Every business needs to strive for continuous improvement to remain competitive, but it’s even more imperative for small business. In most areas, a small business can’t benefit from the economies of scale that its larger competitors enjoy, and a small business doesn’t have big marketing or R&D budgets to give them an edge. Small businesses need to compete by being nimbler and more efficient than larger companies, and one of the easiest ways to accomplish this is through the adoption of technology, especially cloud computing.
Fielding an entire IT department is an expensive proposition, so small companies spend a large percentage of their revenue on IT infrastructure and support. As a result, IT groups are required to wear many hats and they don’t have much time to look at improving business processes to make them more efficient.
Backup to the Cloud for Safety and Efficiency
System backups are a time consuming and mundane, yet necessary task that is easy to offload, freeing the team for more strategic business process analysis. Not only does using cloud computing for storage and backup remove the process from the load on IT, but it usually results in a better solution than a small business has before switching to cloud storage.
To be truly safe, a backup needs to happen frequently, and backups need to be stored in a different location than the server to ensure that the backup is safe in any catastrophe that affects the server. Most small companies pay lip service to this ideal by storing backups at an employee’s home or at a local bank or storage locker, but this doesn’t provide any real safety in a regional crisis.
Cloud computing, on the other hand, by its very nature provides off-site storage, and the cloud provider often has several facilities with failover capabilities to prevent downtime in the event that one facility experiences an issue. With no effort other than signing up for the service, the small business has off-loaded a time-consuming non-value added task and improved its disaster recovery and risk mitigation plan in one simple step, even if the company chooses to continue running its business systems on in-house servers.
Cloud Applications Provide Even More Efficiency
However, by opting to move its business systems to a hosted or cloud model, the company offloads even more of the burden and streamlines its processes even further. The cloud provider usually manages upgrades, database maintenance, system performance tuning and a host of other technical activities that benefit its customers with no effort on the part of the customer. In addition, the company doesn’t have to worry about disk space, hardware upgrades, server failures or finding a loaner server in case of a disaster. The cloud provider is responsible for ensuring performance and system uptime, and usually spells their obligations out in the SLA (service level agreement) that is part of the cloud computing contract.
By choosing to run its business systems in the cloud, the company has reduced risk and simplified its business processes. The company can re-deploy the resources once dedicated to IT tasks to focus on streamlining other processes or work on strategic objectives.