Hybrid Cloud Solutions For Small Business – Large enterprises have been taking advantage of cloud computing for years. Now that the cloud is becoming commercialized and more affordable, small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) want to realize the same returns. This guide will help you understand the cloud, how the cloud can help your growth, and how it can be a migration strategy.
With traditional IT infrastructure, an organization’s data and processes reside on an internal network. Data is stored in one of two ways:
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Applications such as the best CRM solutions, word processing or highly rated accounting software are stored on these local servers. All processes run on this network. It is closed, private and privately owned.
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Cloud computing uses the Internet to open that loop, so users can host data, provide processing power, and run applications on a server where they’re essentially renting, not space.
Programs live in the cloud – which is really just a huge server farm somewhere, connected to local users via services like AWS or Microsoft Azure. Organizations using the cloud don’t need to manage their own storage and power. they can access applications from anywhere at any time and pay only for what they use.
The implications of cloud capabilities are significant. Gartner predicts that 85% of global businesses using the cloud now will become cloud-only operations by 2025 due to operational benefits. Gartner also predicts that global end-user cloud spending will reach nearly $6.8 billion by the end of 2022, up from $4.8 billion in 2021.
And according to Flexera’s State of the Cloud report, 53% of SMBs spent more than $1.2 million on public cloud services, with 22% spending up to $600,000.
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Organizations with deep pockets have enjoyed the benefits of cloud computing for years, and now it’s becoming accessible to SMBs.
Some of the best POS systems are cloud-based and show how cloud services can be a convenient game changer for SMBs. Cloud-based POS systems allow you to access back-office functions from any browser, so you can see your store’s sales performance and run POS reports wherever you are.
Owners can instantly accelerate sales, inventory and other data without interrupting workflows or even entering the store.
You knew that? Web hosting is extremely important for those who sell online, and cloud hosting is a scalable option ideal for small and medium-sized businesses. Read our reviews of the best web and cloud hosting services for tips on features and pricing structures.
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In general, there are three layers of cloud applications: infrastructure as a service (IaaS), platform as a service (PaaS), and software as a service (SaaS). Some consider process outsourcing (BPO) as a fourth level. When people talk about upward mobility, they are referring to these elements.
When BPO is considered a cloud application layer, it is said to be at the top of the stack. It is important to understand that BPO is not technology. it is a model. At this level, processes are given to suppliers. This level is often used for procurement and accounting work.
BPOs come in either a horizontal offering that leverages industry-specific data or a specific vertical offering that requires unique industry knowledge. Paychex and QuickBooks are popular BPO applications. To learn more, read our Paychex cloud-based payroll software review and our QuickBooks Online review.
The next level of the stack is SaaS. Similar to traditional on-premises software, cloud-based applications run on servers. However, these servers are in the cloud and can be accessed over the public network by anyone with a subscription.
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SaaS applications are set-and-forget applications that companies don’t have to worry about managing. es can usually use them on a pay-as-you-go model rather than paying an upfront cost. Salesforce, Office 365, and Dropbox are all examples of commonly used SaaS applications. Read our Salesforce CRM review to learn more about this cloud-based SaaS solution.
You knew that? Predictions for SaaS trends include rapid adoption, more targeted solutions, and growing demand for tech-savvy professionals.
Moving down the stack, we come to PaaS. Generally, this is where software applications are created and developed. If you buy a PaaS offering, you pay a provider to handle most of the servers, operating systems, and network infrastructure so you can focus on developing the actual application. Heroku and Google Apps are examples of PaaS providers.
IaaS is the bottom and most fundamental layer of the stack. This is where the most fundamental elements of IT reside, such as servers, storage, hardware and networks. Organizations looking to develop an entire application themselves turn to IaaS providers for these components, along with the security and ongoing maintenance they require.
Infographic: The Cloud As A Platform
There is an IaaS provider for almost every use case out there. Navisite, SoftLayer, and Vyper VPN are some of the more popular offerings.
The nature of cloud computing is transformative and the cloud can help increase productivity and profits. But while the cloud is a game changer, moving to the cloud has its challenges. Moving operations to the cloud requires research, planning and an overall change in management strategy.
The benefits can be significant and immediate, but if you don’t migrate to the cloud, the downsides can take a toll. Here is an overview of the advantages and disadvantages of the cloud.
The key is to research your options and weigh them against your budget. After all, what’s right for one SMB may not be right for yours, and vice versa.
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The cloud offers SMBs unparalleled flexibility, but SMBs must understand that this flexibility can come with security concerns.
Tip: While cloud encryption protects critical data, cloud users should implement additional measures, including multi-factor authentication and network monitoring, to ensure data security.
If you decide that your SMB will benefit from cloud services, it’s time to create a step-by-step implementation plan. If you start the cloud journey without a clear understanding of existing infrastructure costs and expected future needs, you may end up costing more than the cloud can save.
FYI: If you’re starting your cloud migration with cloud-based backups, check out our reviews of the best cloud storage and online backup services and rate features like price, storage, security, and scalability.
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The expensive hardware and software required to run sophisticated applications are now within the reach of SMBs. That’s the real beauty of cloud computing: it levels the playing field. With research, discussion, and a little faith, SMB owners can implement enterprise-level solutions to improve their bottom line.
Kris Blackmon has over a decade of writing and editing experience, working in daily journalism, longform non-fiction, marketing, research and politics. In recent years, he has focused on startups, technology and the socio-economic changes that come with the digital age. She believes in the power of words as a tool for social change and is rarely ambivalent about anything. She makes poor guacamole, is addicted to solo travel and Star Wars Vs. the business world in recent years.
As digital technology becomes an increasingly central aspect of business operations, it is imperative that organizations of all sizes implement digitization strategies that can enable them to be more competitive.
While in 2011, 51% of organizations had at least part of their computing infrastructure based on the cloud, by 2020 this percentage had increased to 81% and is expected to increase further through the 2020s. Why are small businesses adopting cloud solutions?
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This is for a number of reasons, but they can generally be broken down into a few key factors – efficiency, productivity and scalability.
Efficiency usually manifests itself in terms of workflows as it relates to automation. For example, document workflow is a common way businesses use digital tools to streamline previously manual processes.
Productivity is about removing barriers to work for employees. Consider that in manual systems, it’s not unusual for workers to spend about a quarter of their time just looking for information to get to work.
In these situations where companies are too dependent on manual processes, gathering data and information to improve productivity is essential and another reason why small business cloud adoption has grown so significantly.
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When it comes to scalability, SMBs in particular need to be able to scale their IT infrastructure and not risk being burdened with servers that are outdated and unable to handle a larger workload as the business grows its software needs.
Digital solutions have always been a costly endeavor for organizations to implement, even more so when projects take longer than expected, go over budget, or end up falling short of initial expectations.
Because of this, there has often been a level of reluctance among organizations to commit to digital transformation simply for fear of being saddled with technology that is inefficient and costly.
First, software has become much more affordable and scalable due to cloud offerings. Essentially, this means that businesses no longer need to invest in internal IT infrastructure to support technology adoption and can instead rely on
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