Becoming the master of your own IT infrastructure for any small start-up business can be quite a daunting process. However with all the latest advances in Web 2.0 technology many small business owners are benefiting from cheap but state-of-the-art online software without the headache and the expense of hiring an IT guy to manage and maintain it. Due to its simplicity and intuitiveness it really is changing the way in which small businesses run. Here ‘s how to get the most out of using a ‘cloud computing’ provider and give your business the edge.
• Traditionally to set up a shared IT infrastructure system for you and your team you needed to pay out for network software, file servers and other equipment as well as manage and maintain the network for upgrades and back-ups, all of which costs time and money. On top of this you also needed a competent and reliable IT guy to run it for you.
• Cloud Computing’ is the new generation of IT infrastructure and provides the perfect solution and here is why. It doesn’t require you to pay out for network equipment, software and support in the first instance, everything is already set up by the online service provider. Most providers provide all backup, maintenance and support FREE of charge. The reason for this is that they do not have the huge overheads that traditional IT suppliers have and are therefore able to offer very competitive pricing and support to its users.
• Data security is the key concern for any business – traditionally it has always been in the hands of your IT guy – how skilful and up to date is he? Cloud computing providers store your data off-line in high security centres – some are located in nuclear bunkers! However one word of warning make sure you know where in the world the data is being stored – some ship it out to remote places such as India, other more responsible providers keep it locally i.e. icomplete.com (UK), zoho.com (USA)
• Disaster recovery – if your IT system is in-house and your business suffers flooding or other disaster then all of your data can be lost. Cloud computing stores data on various back-up systems in different locations so that should one system go down then another will retrieve the data so that you can be up and running again instantly. Let’s face it your company data is the most precious commodity in your business and needs to protected at all costs.
• Cloud computing also provides encryption coding to protect traffic between browser or server which is the same method used for online banking so you know you are in safe hands. A stand-alone traditional system does not have access to these without it huge cost implications.
• Choosing IT that can cope with the rapid changes in your business needs is imperative. Flexibility is another area that Cloud computing wins hands down, as your business grows you can add extra users, more storage etc, you don’t have to buy a minimum user package in advance, there is no wastage – just pay as you go. Best of all is there are no contract tie-in or hidden costs.
• Pricing – it can cost as little as £12 per month to use a Cloud computing service compared to hundreds of pounds for standalone software and the infrastructure needed to get it up and running.
• Scalability – all IT systems provide this but Cloud computing does it so much better and cost so much less!
“The majority of businesses are investing in new technology to change working practices, two thirds of businesses are implementing technological changes to their workplaces over the next 3 years” recently reported by Regus and Business Consultancy JBA.
Start reviewing you and your teams IT needs so that you all keep connected and work more productively that way you will stay ahead of the game.
Author: Claire Hibbert, Co-founder of icomplete.com
Member since: 8th March 2010
I wanted to create tools that actually help people to grow their businesses, www.icomplete.com.