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Cloud Solutions: Making Enterprise-level Solutions Affordable for Small Businesses

on January 7, 2013

Historically, as companies grew larger, they could afford better tools for their business. These tools helped them increase efficiency and workflow, but always came at a cost. You can trace this back to the beginning of industrialization and therefore the end of the middle ages. Machines which could do things more efficiently needed a significant investment, and therefore a larger business, however the efficiency they brought along would help the large companies grow larger at an unprecedented pace.

Fast-forward to the beginning of this century and you can see a similar parallel forming itself. A company which employs five to 10 people can hardly justify the investment of a set of of servers – one to host Microsoft®’s Exchange Server, one to host a web monitoring solution, one to archive emails and one to run Active Directory on. So, unless you go for virtualization and save yourself the cost of the extra hardware, most small companies simply make do with what they can lay their hands upon and go without the rest.

This hampers their ability to function competitively, and makes it harder for them to grow at a pace that can suit their natural growth pattern. The decision to invest in hardware for your business is a major one, and when you do get to making it then you need to think about future-proofing it, which makes the expense even bigger than what you can afford at the time.

And this is where cloud solutions fit in.

Cloud solutions give access

For the first time ever, cloud services have made it possible to run enterprise-level productivity suites, email protection, CRMs, online faxing and security solutions which were previously only available to companies which could afford to install, maintain and run this solution on a server which is hosted on-premise.

Cloud solutions are scalable

Small businesses can really benefit from the scalability of cloud solutions. In most cases you can start off an account with as little as five users and then simply scale up when you need. This removes the worry of buying more than you need just in case you grow in the future – you only pay when you actually need the additional seats. Some cloud solutions, such as hosting services, also offer a temporary increase when needed – making sure that you can cope with additional seasonal demand, for example.

Cloud solutions reduce capex

Cash flow is a big issue for most small businesses, so with cloud solutions they can avoid the worries involved in securing the capital needed to invest in a solution they need. There are no papers to fill, no business plans to prepare – you subscribe and go ahead. This is also great since it reduces the risks involved when investing in systems, if the business, for some reason, has to be wound down, there is no hardware to sell and investments to recoup, you can just stop the subscription.

Are there drawbacks?

Sure, nothing is perfect. The total cost of ownership of cloud solutions is usually slightly more expensive to than what it would cost to pay for licenses for on-premise solutions, however if you consider all the worry you’re saving and the advantages you have, it is a small price to pay. Cloud service providers are benefiting from economies of scale which make it possible for them to offer you, the small business owner, a very competitive price. Others cite downtime as another potential drawback, however cloud service providers usually guarantee much better records than any on-premise solution.

So if you run a small business, you should start looking at the solutions you needed but could never afford, someone is sure to have made a cloud version which you can buy in bite-sized chunks.

 

Try the cloud today

GFI CloudTM can help support the growth of your business, offering a simple web-based interface for integrated antivirus, asset tracking and network management. Its automated checks and continuous scanning enable you to save time and focus on more strategic, business-building IT initiatives so your growth won’t slow you down.

Visit www.gficloud.com to learn more.