Making the Public Cloud Work for SMBsMay 31, 2017 No Comments
Featured article by Vadim Vladimirskiy, CEO of Nerdio
Small- and medium-sized business owners have certainly felt buffeted by the winds of change over the last decade. It all started with the need to build and maintain a website, and from there, it all escalated. Soon having a website wasn’t enough; businesses needed to have an active presence on Facebook. Soon Twitter, Foursquare (remember that?), Yelp, and Instagram were added to the list. Staff had to be hired or re-tasked to handle social questions, comments, and complaints. Websites needed live online chat to handle 24/7 customer service support. Then, there was growing excitement about moving to “the cloud.” It’s all enough to make you forget they have businesses to run!
When it comes to the cloud — a vague term that essentially means using a remote network of servers — there are a lot of advantages to small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs). Benefits can include saving money on expensive physical hardware, perpetual licensed software, and local storage, or automating tasks like provisioning and management (if you have a good management portal). Most SMBs have their toes in the cloud computing water without even realizing it. If you’re using software as a service (SaaS) tools like Salesforce, Google Docs, DocuSign, Mailchimp, Slack, Asana, or QuickBooks, you’re using the cloud.
One of the the biggest advantages of moving to the cloud is to leverage the power of IT-as-a-service (ITaaS). ITaaS frees up business owners to focus on their company’s actual work, instead of all the moving parts behind their IT environment. In addition to the software side of things, there are a number of public cloud providers that effectively handle the underlying infrastructure side. Of them, Microsoft Azure and Amazon AWS are arguably the key contenders.
Both Azure and AWS provide a collection of integrated offerings that allow SMBs to use the tools, applications, and frameworks they want — and only the ones they want, when they want to use them. In addition, these providers allow SMBs to upgrade or downgrade their IT infrastructure components without completely disrupting their operations, as would happen if they were utilizing physical/local hardware. Among the services available are data storage, analytics, security, and networking.
SMBs may have one or two staff members to manage IT concerns and even application development, for which Azure and AWS offer cost-saving tools. Developers can use Azure to test their custom applications on virtual machines and virtual hard discs, which are continuously and automatically updated with the latest and greatest operating system. This helps to bring down the time and costs associated with application development.
The public cloud also can be used as a platform for making and hosting websites and web applications, such as content management systems. The key advantage to using Azure as a hosting platform is that server capacity can scale dynamically as necessary, so that businesses can accommodate peak traffic times while only paying for what they actually use.
As any SMB with on-premise IT infrastructure knows, things like maintenance, security, and backup can be time-consuming, painful tasks. The in-house IT staff is forced to spend their time on these laborious IT chores rather than focusing on proactive, strategic initiatives. With the public cloud, concerns like server issues, software upgrades, security, backup, and even natural disasters are handled off-site to a bevy of highly-specialized infrastructure professionals. This frees up the valuable time and energy of in-house staff to tackle more worthwhile projects.
For SMBs with out-of-office workers, whether they’re telecommuting or on-the-road sales representatives, the public cloud makes collaboration easy with the ability to access files via the cloud and work on the same documents and data. Employees can upload, edit, and comment on documents, share spreadsheets, and more. File owners can have the security of knowing that only certain levels of staff have specific levels of access.
All this points to the fact that the question for SMBs isn’t really if they should move their IT infrastructure to the public cloud, but rather when.
About the author: Vadim Vladimirskiy, CEO of of Nerdio
As a creative technologist with an aptitude for business, Vadim Vladimirskiy is the head honcho at Nerdio. He was the key driver behind the evolution of Nerdio, seeking to bring ITaaS to the masses in a cost-effective, standardized package. With over a decade of impressive IT experience and education, Vadim has applied his ever-growing knowledge to many tech roles, one of which was how he met the fellow entrepreneurs who would become his business partners, and shared his vision of providing organizations with an affordable, streamlined ITaaS offering. Though he met many skeptics along the way, Vadim has persevered to successfully build an innovative, high-growth business, with a culture that can’t be beat. When he’s not actively pushing the IT envelope, Vadim spends his time at home, with his loving wife and four boisterous kids.CLOUD COMPUTING