Cloud computing adoption among small businesses is growing. A study commissioned by Cbeyond, a telecommunications and IT company out of Atlanta, indicates that 64 percent of the small businesses surveyed plan to increase their IT budgets to accommodate cloud services adoption.
The reasons for adoption cited are:
- 83 percent of those surveyed claim cloud services give them more flexibility
- 78 percent say that cloud-based services enable them to be more productive
- 71 percent maintain that migrating to the cloud saves them money
This growth is expected to continue over the next few years. Parallels, a market research firm, estimates that the adoption of cloud services by small business will rise from a 25 percent growth trajectory of $15.1 billion in 2011 to a worldwide market growth of 26 percent topping off at $68 billion by 2014.
There’s more than one path to move to the clouds. Cloud computing is a term that embraces several delivery models, most notably: Software as a Service (SaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS) and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS).
With SaaS, the vendor owns the software (applications and databases) and delivers and manages it for your business on a pay-for-use basis or as a subscription with set terms of usage.
PaaS is an outgrowth of SaaS. You rent virtualized servers and associated services to run existing applications or to develop and test new ones.
IaaS provides you with computer infrastructure – hardware, storage, servers and data center space or network components — on an outsourced basis.
Is it the right time to move to the cloud?
As a small business, you’ll more than likely only need SaaS to deliver software and technical services that might otherwise be too costly, time consuming and/or difficult for your IT staff to deploy and manage on premise. Plus storing your data in the clouds means your team can access it from anywhere with a laptop, tablet or smartphone.
As you evaluate a move to the clouds, here are some questions you want to consider to decide if the time is right for you:
- Do you need to reduce your IT spending?
- Is your server hardware ready for replacement?
- Have software applications reached end of life?
- Do you need a better disaster recovery plan?
- Do you want to make data available to teleworkers and team members on the go?
Cloud computing can address these issues and make it easier for your business to scale to meet customer needs and compete. With that in mind, the New Year just might be right for running your business in the clouds.
Suggested additional reading: Questions to ask a cloud computing provider