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Is Cloud Computing Right for Your Small Business?

Have you been pondering a move to Cloud City? Many small businesses have shifted to cloud computing for their data backup and recovery, but that doesn’t mean the strategy is right for everyone.

Difficulties can abound, from hardware upgrades to staffing needs to more paperwork. But the advantages can be significant, too, with lowered storage costs and better security.

Here's what to know if you’re considering a move to the cloud.

Seeing the Benefits

Cloud computing took its time getting from hype to reality, but now that it’s here, the strategy is taking hold for a reason. Cloud-based backup allows a company to share resources with other businesses and harness the power of that arrangement.

According to a recent CDW Cloud Computing Tracking poll:

  • 84 percent of organizations are using at least one cloud application.
  • 76 percent of small business cloud users report they’ve reduced the cost of applications because of moving to the cloud.

Part of the appeal is the cloud’s ability to deliver data anywhere, anytime. Having that type of backup and recovery capability can lead to higher productivity, better mobility and access to cutting-edge technology tools.

Seeing the Challenges

Although using cloud-based backup and recovery can deliver many advantages, you must also consider the risks. Security can still be an issue, and increasing encryption strategies may be burdensome to a smaller company.

Also, experts advise that in order to minimize security issues, business owners should stay away from public Wi-Fi when checking on their cloud-based data. For executives who depend on public wireless when traveling, implementing stronger security measures just to access a file may seem overwhelming.

Another consideration is budgeting. Although cloud-based backup and recovery might be beneficial in the long run, it comes with some upfront costs, such as:

  • Hardware upgrades
  • Network assessments
  • Consulting
  • Training

If your IT infrastructure needs improvement, cloud computing could present a more cost-efficient option. However, you need to take a close look at your return on investment to make sure the benefits are worth the price.

Seeing the Future

While it’s impossible to predict technology trends with pinpoint accuracy, many analysts and industry experts believe cloud computing will continue to gain traction — especially with small businesses.

In the next decade, it’s likely that traditional, licensed applications will begin to recede into the background as shared computing becomes more popular.

When determining whether the cloud is right for your small business, you’ll need to weigh the risks and benefits. But one thing is certain: The cloud isn’t drifting away anytime soon.

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