Helped along by the widespread availability of affordable cloud computing solutions, small businesses are starting to realize the benefits of moving away from traditional computer resources. Cloud computing is not just for the big companies anymore. Most of the benefits that large corporations utilize to streamline operations can be embraced by business of all sizes.
The first step when considering the move towards cloud computing is to carefully analyze the needs of your business. Once you have a complete understanding of the computer resources you require, you can start investigation the various cloud computing options to find the solution that best fits your needs.
Most small businesses will find that a basic Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) package will offer most, if not all, of the benefits that they’ll need. The benefits may include:
- Anywhere, anytime remote access to files
- Scalable server storage and web hosting space
- Ability to access content from a variety of devices
- Security features to protect data
- Continuous backup and data mirroring
Software-as-a-Service is the most widespread delivery method of cloud computing. Many options exist for small business. Many businesses may already be taking advantage of cloud-based services without even realizing it. If your business uses a webmail service, or if you store documents with Dropbox or another online storage system, you’re already using cloud computing. The important thing to do now is understand what you are using, and how best to make the complete transition.
Most SaaS services for small businesses will be based in the Public cloud, and accessed through the internet. This provides for the most cost effective delivery method for small businesses, as most small businesses already use some form of SaaS. Also, small businesses have widespread access to the internet, meaning every aspect of their SaaS is available wherever they need it to be.
The other option for small businesses is a private cloud. While normally an in-house operation, there are many providers than can develop and maintain a private cloud for a small business. The costs will be higher than a public solution, but access is also easier to control. There is no public internet access to a private cloud. Secure connections must be established from the small business directly to their private cloud.
Regardless of whether you utilize a public cloud or a private solution, data security needs to be a paramount concern. Cloud computing providers employ the latest technologies to protect your data from unauthorized access.
The biggest concern comes from the widespread network on which your data is stored. Public cloud providers utilize data centers in countries around the world. Each of these countries has their own laws governing computer data and security. Make sure that your provider discloses this information, and make sure you understand how the laws of the host country govern your data.