When it comes to finding a low-cost yet highly effective IT infrastructure to support a growing business, small business owners spend too much time ‘getting their hands dirty’ as opposed to focusing on moving the business forward.

That is why Cloud Computing might just be the perfect remedy, giving them the ability to focus on keeping competitive by streamlining their operations and removing the up-front capital costs of a traditional solution.

Costs are also kept down on an on-going basis, this is due to the technology being delivered over the internet; businesses rent their required space and processing power, with the ability to scale, up or down, as and when required.

Ask any techy and they will tell you how excited the IT industry is about the capabilities of the Cloud. But what does it mean for the everyday SME.

Let the experts take care of the IT

Adopting the Cloud is like renting a car, the maintenance, repairs and breakdown assistance are all taken care of by the rental company. All you have to do is jump in and drive off, safe in the knowledge that all will work. When a business implements Cloud they use the software they require without worrying about installing it, maintaining it, downloading updates or keeping it secure. Nor, will the business need to invest in additional hardware or an IT suite, such as servers, it’s all taken care of.

Tony Capewell, Director at Your IT Works, said that,

“The Cloud allows small businesses to leave the operational IT work to the experts, it substantially reduces the risks, unexpected expenses, and capital expenditure associated with maintaining and owning a full IT suite. The majority of SMEs will find the ability to outsource the technology to a capable Cloud Service Provider invaluable”.

Spend less time keeping the technology supporting your business on, and more time implementing core business processes.

Predictable and economical

Above all of the benefits and possibilities the Cloud offers businesses, the biggest driving factor is the financial savings. When you purchase a traditional IT suite, you have to predict how much space and processing power you will require, with too little or too much both having financial implications, then, after the 3 years a refresh is a likely expense, with the hardware becoming obsolete, all while the continuing and unpredictable costs of fixing it when it goes wrong.

Now imagine a low predictable monthly fee, based on the number of users and software they need, which can scale with your business; that is the Cloud.

Capewell commented,

“Cloud Computing provides you with the ability to expand or contract the number of resources you’re leveraging. Where the costs used to be a major capital expense they now become an operational expense”.

Is the Cloud truly secure?

The belief that the Cloud is less secure than a traditional on premise solution is a rapidly diminishing misconception.

The term ‘cloud’ might not inspire confidence, but it’s actually a safe and substantial way to store, share and secure your data. It doesn’t actually present any risks to sensitive data that do not already exist with an on premise environment. In fact, the majority of SMEs that evaluate their internal security, response times, and downtime to the service level assurances they get with a reputable Cloud Service Provider (CSP), find that their security is increased by moving to the Cloud.

Although, when you place the responsibility of your business critical IT infrastructure and data in the hands of a third party, there needs to be a degree of trust, that they are capable and credible.

It is, however, simple for small businesses to achieve the assurances they need by choosing a CSP that is certified by the independent UK Cloud governing body, Cloud Industry Forum (CIF).

CIF deliver a certifiable Code of Practice to members on best practice processes and client protection. All CSPs awarded the certification have made a commitment to present the terms of their Cloud offering unambiguously and have demonstrated that they have met the specific requirements of transparency, accountability and capability.

The Code of Practice allows businesses, as end users, to have confidence in their choice, where they can evaluate certified CSPs against the guidance and rationale set out in the Code, thus allowing a more thorough and informed decision on choosing their supplier.

Your IT Works, recently re-certified with CIF Code of Practice for a second year, Capewell said,

“Businesses are becoming more savvy about Cloud, and what it has to offer, but are also increasingly aware of issues such as data privacy, security, and data sovereignty. The Code of Practice tackles these issues head-on. It is important for customers to know that their data and applications will be properly supported and protected in cloud environments, and knowing that we are CIF certified instantly provides this reassurance.

“Having worked with CIF through the certification process, end users know that our services meet recognised industry standards. The scheme goes beyond the technical specifications required to deliver secure cloud services, and governs the way that we operate as a business, to ensure that we are fully transparent and accountable to our customers”.

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