Is a Cloud Right for You?
Is your business computing in the cloud yet? A new study by Zoomerang Online Surveys and Polls, Cloud Computing and the Role of IT Professionals in Small- to Mid-Sized Businesses, took a look at the ways small and midsized businesses are using the cloud for business needs.
When asked, “Which of the following best describes your familiarity with cloud computing?” here’s what respondents said:
- I am not familiar with cloud computing – 47 percent
- I have heard of cloud computing, but am not sure what it is – 25 percent
- I am somewhat comfortable with cloud computing and have an understanding of the basics only – 18 percent
- I am very comfortable with cloud computing and can explain it to others – 10 percent
When asked if they currently use cloud computing for business, a whopping 77 percent said no. Just 10 percent said yes—and 13 percent said “I don’t know” (at least they were honest about it!)
“These numbers are quite staggering given that cloud vendors are investing huge amounts of money in marketing to showcase the benefits of cloud computing,” says Alex Terry, General Manager of Zoomerang. “This research points to the need for cloud vendors to instead educate business owners on what cloud computing means and how it is relevant to SMBs.”
Is your business one of the small percentage using the cloud? If not I hope you at least have some familiarity with it. Wikipedia defines “cloud computing” as providing computer resources (software, data, etc.) “on demand.” To put it simply, instead of data, files and even software being stored on your computer’s hard drive, this information is stored on a network—“in the cloud”—that can be accessed from anywhere.
Cloud computing has many benefits for small businesses, including cost savings; greater flexibility in obtaining the latest programs; and ease of sharing data with remote or traveling employees and independent contractors, and clients. Of course, this doesn’t mean you should conclude cloud computing is right for your business in every situation. As with any business decision, add up the costs, benefits and risks.
Vineet Jain, CEO of Egnyte, a leading provider of cloud file server solutions points out sometimes information can be slower to access on the cloud. “The Internet,” he says, “is not yet in a state where everything can be accessed yet.” To ease that pain Egnyte offers a hybrid cloud solution; Jain calls it the “local cloud.” In this case your data resides on the cloud, as well as on a small “piece of hardware” in your office.
My company uses the cloud for data storage and backup, which is one of the most popular uses for cloud computing among small companies. Switching to the cloud has saved us the expense and hassle of networking computers and dealing with an IT consultant. It’s the right solution for us—but maybe not for you.
But cloud computing is one of the hottest trends in business today, with more and more services and solutions being provided in the cloud. So even if you haven’t made the cloud decision yet, you’ll likely have to in the future.
Need help figuring out your IT needs? The Mentors at SCORE Montgomery County can help.