SME – Hold Fire or Shoot…………..for the Cloud

To Cloud or not to Cloud, that is the question

Recently there have been a number of tweets on Cloud adoption by small to medium enterprises. Most notably

@Think_Tech “It is being said rather a lot so worth looking into: Benefits of cloud computing for SMEs – http://ow.ly/cEUjV #cloud #sme #smb

@ComputerWeekly “SMEs driving $2.3bn cloud industry growth: http://ow.ly/cYUBl

So why exactly are SME’s jumping on the cloud?

Why Small & Medium?

This isn’t required reading but, as always, the BOFH offers insight that the rest of us just think but would never voice publicly. The biggest barrier to any move to the Cloud may well be the IT department of any organisation. Whether it is fear of system failures that they no longer control or more likely fear that their long term future with the company may be put in jeopardy, IT staff will have a litany of reasons ready to offer business management as to why they most definitely should NOT move to the Cloud. This is key, an SME will have a small or even non-existant IT department. It may be completely out-sourced to a local service provider.

A recent survey conducted by InfoWorld with 4000 respondents in 7 countries revealed that half had sensitive information in the Cloud. So clearly security is not the concern that prevents organisations moving. Security may have been a concern but as more and more organisations move to Cloud solutions, security has become more robust driven by the requirements of those organisations.

The single biggest reason currently for organisations is the fear of outages. Surely SME’s would suffer as much if not more from any unplanned outage? Not necessarily, it depends on the nature of the outage and the nature of the business. Some SME’s can continue to function for hours if not days without IT services. I spoke to one organisation who had an email server failure that left them without email for a full week. While it was an inconvenience it certainly did not shut the business down. Now try to imagine a large organisation and how they would react to a lack of email. It is a poor example as I know email is not as important as people think but it is useful to illustrate the point.

SME’s tend to be more adaptive and reactive. If there is a problem they work around it or fix it. The reason is they have to. There will be no paycheck at the end of the week or month if the business doesn’t continue to function.

Taking all of this into account you can quickly see why Cloud is attractive. IT support will be deemed a major overhead and let’s face it a right royal pain in the posterior. Moving all of your IT function into the cloud reduces it to a simple SLA management exercise. Your IT is either up or down. There is no gray area.

To an organisation that is facing increasing pressure on precious resources who wants to free itself of the distraction of modern technology, Cloud may just be the answer.

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