How Can SMBs Benefit from Cloud Computing?

Chris McBride, Senior Network Engineer

Small Businesses are faced with many challenges in today’s Information Age. The constant push to be more efficient and reduce costs creates friction when combined with the need to constantly upgrade technology and maintain operations at the level required. American SMBs are looking to “the cloud” to help solve this problem. The ability to offload the infrastructure cost to provide IT services, as well as provide a more stable platform for those services is very attractive.

Development and internet service. Human resource and self employmentMany Internet based cloud service providers exist, but most do not provide guidance or assistance in helping to figure out how to effectively integrate their product offering into what the SMB actually needs. Additionally the process of migrating from a standard “server in a closet” to a cloud based IT infrastructure is not always straightforward.

The best way to address this issue is for small businesses to look for a partner to work with to help them transition into a cloud based IT infrastructure. This partner will work with the SMB to evaluate the existing infrastructure, current requirements, and future needs. Then they’ll help the SMB build a plan to transition their IT services and data into the cloud, but maintain full functionality for their employees, as well as add enhanced functionality they may not have with their old solution. Attempting to proceed to migrate IT Infrastructure into the cloud without a partner who is fully versed and capable in the aforementioned aspects can result in a situation where the SMB endures extra costs due to downtime, performance issues, and a negative experience.

There are many advantages to moving the SMB’s IT infrastructure with the help of a partner who can provide the remote outsourcing of data center functionality and other IT architecture. The type of cloud offering called Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) that these partners can provide, lifts the burdens of operating an in-house data center and comes with substantial benefits:

Full Bandwidth – Faster and Cheaper
IaaS offers an early-stage company the ability to quickly ramp-up its IT and data center capabilities at a fraction of the cost of purchasing and managing onsite equipment. The Guardian cleverly analogizes the advantages of the cloud to renting a perpetually new car over the hassles of buying and maintaining a current model vehicle, which likely will grow troublesome, if not completely obsolete, after only a few years.

Rent Only What You Need
Another benefit of teaming with an IaaS provider is colocation: housing multiple customers – and their necessary equipment – within a centralized off site facility. This offers the customer the scalability to choose just the right amount of dedicated hardware needed as measured in server towers or racks. This is ideal for an SMB that wants to experiment with increased bandwidth before committing to a major expansion of their network.

Optimal Performance, All The Time
If a small business’s one (mission-critical) standalone data server crashes in the middle of the night, how soon will their IT manager successfully reboot the system? Because an IaaS cloud provider is responsible for the needs of many customers, it constantly maintains a full array of state-of-the-art services. This means regularly upgrading server hardware, high performance firewalls and obtaining the latest software licenses from industry-leading vendors to ensure 24/7 system redundancy, security and reliability.

Startup or early-stage SMBs usually operate at a premium of resources – physical space as well as personnel. An IaaS cloud platform frees those resources so SMBs can reach their primary goal – getting a leg up on the big guys.

For more information about TierPoint’s custom cloud solutions, please click here.