Monthly Archives: September 2011

The benefits of Cloud Hosting for SMEs

Commensus‘ CTO Alex has written an engaging and succinct guide to the benefits of Cloud Hosting for Small to Medium Enterprises. Many of the points raised in his article are clearly relevant to other sectors.
Cloud Computing

“In our increasingly globalised world, small businesses need an operating communications network to span the geographically dispersed parts of the company. But the business applications required to achieve this are an pricey proposition in our current economic climate. This is making it progressively hard for small companies to compete with large corporations who hold seemingly infinite budgets. But we are now seeing the emergence of multi-tenanted business applications based upon a price-per-user model, or in other words, the Public Cloud. This is allowing youthful organisations to enjoy enterprise level services, security and products, at a fraction of the price.

Now is the time to begin “Thinking Big” – and utilizing communications to get there. With Cloud Computing, instead of running Desktops, Applications, Exchange or Voice through physical in-house servers, they are hosted on centralised virtual servers in a data centre. This entire process is instant to setup and easy to use; you just login, customise and begin. Applications are more scalable, more secure and more reliable as you don’t need a copy of an app for every department using it, just one app which is variable enough for everyone to customise for their own particular needs. You can instantly provision applications whenever you need them as the end user directly controls the resources they require. This allows firms striving to adapt to the pace and dynamism of business today to deploy highly resilient virtual machines for their staff, dawning a new era of flexibility.

Managers are beginning to realise a change in the dynamics of their businesses now that staff can be networked more cost-effectively, no matter where in the world they are. Employees can benefit from enhanced mobility with access to their individual desktop user profile from any device – Laptop, Thin Client or iPad – from anywhere in the globe within reach of a 3G network. This makes it easy to connect individuals and offices in one cohesive, responsive unit in which users share and synchronise emails, diaries and files. Small organisations can hire home-based workers, or open small branch offices, or more effectively connect employees on their mobiles to deliver seamless, customer service as easily as a large corporation. Cloud Computing also furthers employee productivity and innovation by offering access to the latest technology without the need for any investment in upgrades so small organisations get first class IT on a global scale without having to spend a penny.

IT executives have raised some concerns about the security of their data in the Cloud. But since all data and applications are centralised in a data centre, it is vastly simpler to enable and enforce processes and procedures to ensure security, privacy and other best practices. No data is stored on a device, so you never have to worry about proprietary data coming into the wrong hands if the device itself is missing, stolen or breaks. This is particularly significant with potentially gigabytes of sensitive corporate data sitting on the desk of each member of staff.

But some executives are still hesitant to take the step: their thought is that they would no longer be able to ‘touch and feel’ the systems which drive their company. Alex Parker, CTO of Commensus PLC is not surprised by this reaction, but feels there is enough experience of remote working to relieve those fears. “Data centres have been on the scene for three decades or more: Cloud computing is simply a logical progression of that service. There has been little evidence of businesses experiencing problems with access to data and with comprehensive service level agreements that specify virtually constant availability, any remaining concerns should be set aside.”

Most businesses are small (over 98% have less than 100 employees) and they like it that way: they value the flexibility, responsiveness and customer interaction. It is clearer than ever that the competitiveness of an organisation is now less based on its size than ever before. By having effective use of today’s communications capabilities, small firms can contend against anyone, anytime, anywhere, of any size. If you think it, you can do it. With the development of cloud technology and the applications and solutions available to small business, the sky really is the limit and size is no longer an issue.”

Follow Alex @WhatistheCloud

It’s been a while…

…Since I last updated F2MKE. Like a News Year’s Resolution with best intentions, my ambition to keep my blog movements regular with a healthy diet of relevant ICT stuff and things had faded – well actually they were monthentarily distracted! However, I’m still excited by and enthusiastic about the subjects on which I was writing… And so, I’m determined to get more regular again; looking at where things have moved since I last wrote and specifically by documenting some little gems that highlight why a move to open interoperability standards and cloud delivery really do make sense.

Watch this space…