By 2020, 78% of small businesses will be taking advantage of cloud computing, according to a recent Microsoft SMB study. It’s safe to say that more and more CIOs, MDs and CTOs are looking to expand their business and trust in the Cloud. Smaller businesses have found it difficult to understand why the cloud is beneficial, often fearing the unknown due to the complicated technical nature of it. Their fears are particularly in focus when it comes to data, security and compliance, believing that if they can’t see a physical server that houses all their company information, it’s not safe. In recent years, SMBs have come to realise the potential of moving their data into the cloud, safe in the knowledge that if companies like the Ministry of Defence, UK Banks and their competitors are storing data in there, they should be too.
Persuading your customers to move to the cloud
If you work in IT, chances are you’ve came across businesses that aren’t ready to move to the cloud or are still sceptical of how it can benefit them. According to a recent survey conducted by CRN, 40 per cent of resellers said that less than half of their UK customer base were currently using cloud software-as-a-service (SaaS) solutions. While this isn’t reflective of all UK resellers and their customers, SMBs are reluctant to move their traditional on-premises solutions and migrate to the cloud due to several factors. The cost of migrating a small business can put a substantial dent in their yearly budget, there’s also the potential downtime, and the technical expertise they’d need to employ or outsource. So, how can you persuade them to move forwards with technology and embrace the cloud?
Reducing costs for on-demand flexibility
A major need for SMBs is to reduce their overall costs. With the cloud, businesses can move their capital expenditure (CapEx) from on-premises solutions across to operational expenditure (OpEx), changing the way they pay. Operating on a monthly pay-as-you-go subscription removes the need to pay hefty upfront costs for IT resources and replaces them with a predictable billing cycle. It’s also far easier for businesses to scale on demand with SaaS, such as Office 365, Microsoft 365 or Azure. Plus, users can be added and removed as and when required, so there’s no need to pay for resources that aren’t needed.
Boosting productivity and collaboration
A modern workforce needs flexible, easy ways to communicate and collaborate with each other, specifically when working on the same project, files or meeting agendas. Storing files in the cloud via Office 365 and sharing them with colleagues via OneDrive for Business is a sure-fire way to boost productivity between departments. Documents no longer need to be attached to emails, so that everyone can view the same document from any location and edit or make suggestions in real-time. A recent Frost and Sullivan report states that small businesses can boost their productivity by up to 400% by using cloud collaboration tools.
Ensuring a secure, safe storage space for sensitive data
With the General Data Protection Regulation now in effect, it’s no surprise that many SMBs were largely unprepared for it. A survey by the Federation of Small Businesses reported that approximately 90% of small businesses weren’t ready. Compliance goes hand-in-hand with security, allowing businesses to remain up to date with government regulations, without the cost of upgrading and maintaining on-site hardware.
These are just some of the biggest advantages and benefits of why SMBs should choose the cloud. We’ll address the best ways of how to move your customers to the cloud in a future blog post, with a specific focus on hybrid cloud. For more information on Microsoft services, click here.