SMBs Entering The Cloud: Five Things To Nail Down First4:00 PM EST Wed. May. 30, 2012
The cloud is changing the landscape for enterprises, but there is no reason why SMBs shouldn't create their own cloud-based strategy.
With that in mind, SMB cloud solution provider Intermedia is using the Small Business Association's National Small Business Week to offer five keys for SMBs to remember when developing a cloud plan.
Continue on and see what New York-based Intermedia thinks are the important considerations for SMBs as they begin their cloud campaign.
Cloud computing can level the field and allow SMBs to take advantage of a hosted environment and compete on a larger scale. The cloud can let them leverage the 3Cs of their business -- how they communicate, collaborate and manage huge amounts of content.
To take full advantage of the cloud, SMBs need to make sure service providers deliver an in-depth report addressing each of the 3Cs. The need for tight integration of services is all-important as deploying services piece by piece through multiple clouds undermines the value and efficiencies of cloud computing.
SMBs need to realize that all clouds are not the same. Many focus on cost optimization, but the best also offer availability, speed and data protection.
Clouds for personal use, such as Apple's iCloud (left) or Google's Gmail, offer substantive free services, but they are not built for business purposes. SMBs, when considering a cloud strategy, should emphasize security, support, integration, control and mobility as top priorities.
While price reductions are attractive, businesses often lose important services, such as security, quality support, backup and more in the bargain. Commoditized offerings from many industry service providers often don't offer such important business-class services.
"SMBs should ensure they work with a cloud services provider that focuses on providing a full suite of professional-grade IT services packaged with the support and reliability they expect," Intermedia said.
Businesses can't operate without effective security, reliability and privacy plans. But many cloud service providers are fuzzy about where the data they manage is located, which says something about their ability to secure it. SMBs should demand to know where their data is being stored.
SMBs also should demand enterprise levels of reliability. While providers often use 99.9 percent reliability as a selling point, in practice this can add up to a full day of downtime over a year. In fact, enterprise reliability equates with 99.999 percent. Get the guarantee in writing.
While setting up cloud strategies, SMBs need to consider the future and make sure cloud service providers can scale as technology evolves.
One area likely to scale will be enterprise mobility, which SMBs need to consider. They should make sure they align with providers that offer a compete and scalable suite of services, which will include a robust mobility practice.