It seems people are a little bit cloud confused these days.
Vic Manfredi, President of Affordable-IT, says the first question his company is asked from potential new SMB customers is, “What is the cloud?” Many view cloud computing as something best suited for personal storage needs, such as iCloud, and are not really clear on how it can help them in business. Cloud computing does in fact make a lot of sense for small businesses.
“Basically, you’re taking the functionality of your internal computer systems and accessing them over the internet,” Manfredi says.
Making the move to cloud computing brings with it several benefits for small business, Manfredi says. Perhaps the most important of these benefits is the ability to transform SMBs current IT functions into a business tool, rather than just a painful business expense.
“A business owner and their employees can get back to the business of running their business and leave the IT-based issues to be handled by a quality cloud services provider like AIT,” he says.
The cloud is also a place where people believe that they are “backed up,” but most don’t realize that simply copying your My Documents to “the cloud” is not going to necessarily save you. There will still be a good amount of time and effort spent to rebuild the operating systems on your PC and reconstruct all the things that make your business unique. The exact cost of your downtime depends on company size: on average, small companies can lose approximately $8,581 per hour, medium companies $215,638 per hour, and large enterprises as much as $686,250 for every hour of downtime. (Downtime and Data Loss: How Much Can You Afford? Aberdeen Group, 2013)
“In order to provide our customers with the best disaster recovery and business continuity, we have partnered with industry leader, Datto. Datto’s technology provides real-time backup and fast recovery of data and systems in order to get the business back up and running,” said Manfredi.
He also identified seven key benefits of cloud-based computing:
- Fixed IT Costs: Because it’s subscription-based, businesses know exactly what to budget for IT services.
- Maintenance: With the systems housed offsite, businesses don’t need to be concerned about maintenance, replacement or repair of the hardware.
- Compliance: Along the same lines as maintenance, the business never has to worry about required certifications or compliance from government or industry regulations. AIT’s enterprise is HIPAA and SSAE 16 SOC compliant.
- Remote Work: Cloud services have helped many of today's SMBs redefine the traditional office. Of course, remote work was possible in the days before the cloud went mainstream and AIT has been providing this service for years, but SaaS (Software as a Service) tools have pushed the trend forward and eased some of the complications and slashed the costs that might have arisen in the past. For instance, by delivering business-critical software via the Web rather than having to install it on every user's hard drive, companies can enable staff members to work from their home offices without necessarily having to provide them company-issued hardware. This cuts out a major expense associated with remote work, meaning that businesses can more easily and cost-effectively implement a remote work policy on a larger scale.
- Backup/disaster recovery: Some 96% of all business workstations are not backed up, according to the Contingency Planning and Strategic Research Corporation. And nearly three in five downtime incidents are caused by human error alone, according to the Independent Oracle User Group. A cloud based business continuity system can help a business owner recover in minutes or hours, not days or weeks, should disaster or just human error strike.
- Peace of mind: With a cloud-based IT support system in place, SMBs can rest easier knowing their data and IT systems are well monitored and supported. Within a year of data loss, 70% of those small businesses do go out of business.
Considering what’s at stake, Manfredi says the Affordable-IT’s staff is hard at work changing the misconceptions small businesses have about cloud computing.
“This is an educational pursuit,” he says.
Representatives of Affordable-IT want to answer all of your cloud computing questions. Contact them at 877-893-0650. Also, follow Affordable-IT on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Learn more about the ins and outs of cloud computing and how it can benefit your business by reading our Q-and-A with Brad Nellis of Expedient.