Cloud computing, or on-demand, virtual, centralized, shared computing resources is not just the latest trend, it is literally a boon to the IT industry. While enterprises both large and small have profited from moving to the cloud, SMBs reap the best benefits as they can cut down on investment, physical infrastructure and resource costs. According to a study by Forbes magazine, by 2020, 78% of U.S. small businesses will have fully adopted cloud computing while the U.S. SMB cloud computing and services market will register a growth from $43B in 2015 to $55B in 2016.
With the popularity of cloud computing and proliferation of providers, from big players like Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google and Rackspace to providers like QuickBase, Salesforce, Lynda and PureCloud who cater to SMBs, there is a wealth of choice when a company decides to move to the cloud. However, no matter the requirement – Public Cloud, Private Cloud or Hybrid Cloud – a smooth move to the cloud has to be effected by business executives and the company’s IT department working hand-in-hand to safeguard against discrepancies between business and technological requirements. The goal is to ensure that the migration is thoroughly planned, budgeted, monitored and skilfully executed.
5 Ways to Move to the Cloud
Whether the choice is the basic Infrastructure as a service (IaaS), the development environment of Platform as a service (PaaS) or the simplicity of on-demand Software as a service (SaaS), which is the best on-demand, scalable, cost effective cloud computing service model for SMBs since it provides the requisite application software and database without the hassle of managing the infrastructure and platform, there is no doubt that a move to the cloud is both desirable and profitable. According to Gartner Inc., there are ‘Five ways to migrate applications to the cloud,’ namely ‘rehost on infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS), refactor for platform-as-a-service (PaaS), revise for IaaS or PaaS, rebuild on PaaS, or replace with software-as-a-service (SaaS).’ Cisco, on its blog, lists them as:
- Move to a network cloud service
- Move to a datacentre cloud service
- Move to a compute and storage cloud service
- Move to a software cloud service
- Move to an application cloud service.
Top 10 Benefits of Migrating to the Cloud
For SMBs, the scalability and flexibility of cloud computing make it an ideal option while the concept of anytime, anywhere access simplifies work, improves collaboration between departments and with business partners and basically allows the company to focus on growing its business without sacrificing costs. But a lot of times companies hesitate to take the plunge without getting a full picture of what a move to the cloud entails. To make it easier to decide, here are the top 10 benefits of moving to the cloud:
- Savings – By doing away with physical infrastructure and IT equipment, initial investment and additional resource costs, cloud computing offers a cheaper working model. Moreover, companies need to pay only for the services and tools they use.
- Security – Cloud providers offer similar, if not more security compared to on premise systems. According to a survey by Microsoft companies using cloud spend 32 percent less time during the week managing security issues on an average while 35 percent of companies have said that cloud offers greater security with lower malware attacks
- Scalability – For an SMB it is imperative that their business and operations can be scaled up or down according to business fluctuations and cloud infrastructure is by far the most scalable and agile option to cope with changes.
- Flexibility – Cloud Computingis built on the premise of anytime, anywhere access and across devices. The cloud environment being dynamic and agile, companies can access their data, respond to business requirements and adapt to ongoing changes.
- Integration – By integrating and mixing technologies with cloud applications on a single platform, companies have a wider range of options to choose from. SMBs can customize the applications, software they need to fulfil specific business purposes.
- Control – Since there is no need to maintain elaborate IT infrastructure, the control is no longer solely in the hands of the IT department maintaining and managing huge datacentres and servers. A Single Sign On (SSO) across multiple devices offers effective user accounts and credential management.
- Speed – In a fast-paced IT world, cloud computing offers the comfort of planning, implementing and configuring services in a matter of hours instead of the weeks taken by an on premise infrastructure. With a fast turnaround time, companies can quickly react to change.
- Upgrades – With cloud computing, the headache of maintaining the software and applications, network or platform is safely outsourced to the cloud provider while security and feature updates and patches are easily handled by the system admin with tools like the System Center.
- Big Data – By extracting different kinds of information from varied sources, and presenting them in a detailed manner, the goal of ‘big data’ is to ensure accurate business intelligence and quick delivery of relevant insight.
- Planning – Cloud Computing offers the kind of fluidity that an SMB needs to plan ahead and forecast future business trends. Whether in terms of cost or insight, a cloud model is a compact, overall package that can move with the times.