Whatever industry you’re in, it is likely that you have come across the term ‘cloud computing’ before. You may even be using a cloud service within your business already, and be unaware of it. But how can small to medium businesses (SMBs) in the UK really take advantage of what cloud computing has to offer, without having to delve through reams of management speak? This presentation and the supporting report (which you should have found on your chairs when you arrived) is designed to explain, in plain English, the real reasons behind how your business can benefit from cloud computing, and help you to get beyond the buzzword.We have a relatively short period of time so this will be a whistle stop tour however the presentation slides will be sent to you next week and you have the report with all the supporting information.
Non-profit industry association, the Cloud Industry Forum (CIF), defines ‘cloud computing’ as:“Cloud Computing is a term that relates to the IT infrastructure and environment required to develop/host/run IT services and applications, on demand, with consumption based pricing, as a resilient service.”
So we know the buzzword but is the Cloud something that small to medium businesses should be considering, do you even need to be thinking about his now?Well it is certainly something you should consider but look before you leap, it’s doesn’t have to be an all or nothing proposition so take your time to research and speak to trusted peers, IT partners and suppliers.To help you get started this presentation takes you through the questions you need to ask and advice on how to get the answers. There is need to take any notes the supporting report has all of this information within it and there will also be time for questions at the end.
Over the next 30 mins I will take you through the 10 steps to start you thinking about moving to the cloud.
Cloud computing need not be a threat to your skilled IT department or outsourced provider. Moving to the cloud has created a lot more opportunities without the threat of redundancy. Daily IT tasks can all be outsourced, quite possibly to your existing MSP if they provide cloud services already. But the IT department will absolutely retain control of the IT infrastructure, and even develop their expertise in implementing and administering your cloud-based applications and services.
Cloud services can be private, on premise, public or hybrid.Each type suits different business needs and has slightly different attributes and benefits, and ultimately your provider will help you to determine that most suited to your SMB. Private – dedicated to single business, configurable resources and SLA’s, clearly defined & sometimes selectable geographic location, IaaSOn premise – most legacy systems, enables configuration, regulation and compliance internally, providing resources are availablePublic – multi-tenancy, geographic dispersion, value, SaaSHybrid – mix of all and any of these.
Since all cloud services are ‘pay as you go’, there is a huge argument for improving cash flow. Businesses can pay monthly, per user, per licence or by the amount of space that they use. Cloud services are flexible, so businesses can scale up and down usage, as the business needs change. Depending on the service level agreements (SLAs) in your provider’s contract, off-premise solutions, private or public, means that maintenance is handed over to the cloud provider, freeing up valuable resources and re-directing them to other parts of the business.And it is not just the direct costs that can be reduced, since in the long-term, indirect costs such as those attributed to labour – versus productivity (detailed later in this report) – will fall, as well as lower staff attrition as they feel the benefits of cloud during the working day.Cloud computing has no capital expenditure, and it is much faster to deploy. Project budgets have minimal start-up costs, and operational expenses are therefore much more predictable, all helping towards delivering a healthy balance sheet.
Collaboration: Cloud computing can improve productivity is the ability to connect to colleagues, customers, partners and peers via the cloud. They can collaborate on documents and business critical applications (rather than duplicating various versions and increasing the amount of unnecessary data within a business), as well as communicate speedily via email, chat and unified communications platforms, such as Microsoft Lync. In a nutshell, data and information can be delivered to employees in real-time, providing access when and where it’s required, increasing operational intelligence, and improving decision-making lead times. Work/Life Balance: As long as employees have an Internet-enabled device – whether that’s a smart phone, tablet or laptop – they can now work from home, other offices, on the train or even in the pub. The possibilities are endless. No longer are employees required to work within the traditional confines of the office’s four walls. Again, this can help decrease staff attrition as they are able to maintain a work/life balance, and increases productivity during time periods where previously they would not be able to work.
In reality, cloud servers are typically safer than your own internal servers. You get to use servers that are protected with the latest security measures and have IT professionals watching them around the clock. An on-premise server can always be unplugged and walked out of the door, but is handling your precious business data over to a cloud services provider any better?Data security, protection, sovereignty and portability – Concerns over regulatory, legal jurisdiction and perceived security fears restrict the nature of how some organisations adopt cloud solutions. However Cloud are protected with the latest security measures and 24/7 support (reputable providers will ensure this).
Cloud computing enables companies worldwide to pool and share facilities and resources, and is helping to contain data centre duplication. Swapping out on-site servers and hardware for hosted services and infrastructure over the cloud will dramatically reduce your SMB’s carbon footprint. Migrating some or all business functions, data or applications to the cloud reduces energy usage and therefore utility bills, stops the need for cooling power and equipment, and decreases the amount of floor space you need to house servers, racks and storage. For SMBs, the cut in energy use and carbon emissions has been reported to be as high as 90 per cent, according to a Microsoft studyhttp://www.wspenvironmental.com/newsroom/news-2/view/cloud-computing-study-for-microsoft-shows-dramatic-reduction-in-carbon-emissions-235
One of the big advantages of cloud computing is that it makes your IT functions a lot simpler. When you have IT professionals working for your business, they will be able to gain approved access to documents, systems and applications more easily if everything is housed inside the cloud. For example, instead of having IT professionals come to your office in order to fix the problem, they can simply log into the cloud server from wherever they are, and address the issue.IT professionals also do not have to worry about taking care of the physical hardware because it is housed in a data centre, being watched by other IT professionals. Cloud computing also removes the need to manually update business critical applications, software, services and infrastructure. Updates are fast and delivered online automatically, reducing the need for any manual interference or disruption to the workforce and daily operations.
Cloud computing offers SMBs an easy-to-use, cost effective business continuity and disaster recovery option. No longer do you need a complex, multi-strategy recovery plan, since whatever you decide to migrate to the cloud is already backed up whenever changes are made to the data on the cloud service.It was discovered recently that businesses using cloud to back-up their data were able to resolve issues four times faster on average than businesses that didn’t use cloud. Since cloud in its nature backs up data in real-time, there is no need to execute traditional back up processes on a daily, weekly or monthly basis. This saves valuable time that can be more productively re-directed to elsewhere in the business.
One of the primary benefits for SMBs when using cloud services is the 24/7 access to enterprise-class technology and resources. No longer are managers restricted by the hardware and equipment they could afford, but now they can compete with the big players in their market.As well as this, the size difference enables smaller businesses to manoeuvre faster and act in a more agile way than enterprises, which have a lot more considerations to include when changing business processes. As the backbone of UK Plc., SMBs – including entrepreneurs, start-ups and spin-outs – are being allowed the chance to compete on even ground with established competitors.The cloud also enables businesses to identify new products, services or revenue streams, previously blocked by on-premise IT. The improved cash flow, mentioned previously in this report, also ensures a good flow of working capital and increased budgets to be able to diversify and expand operations.
This paper is designed to equip managers at SMBs with enough information on the key benefits of cloud computing to make an initial decision to research it further, and look towards adoption.Although an eagerly sought option for most business models and IT setups, cloud services must be carefully considered in relation to the business model, scale and working environment. Depending on the complexity of a business’s IT infrastructure it may be advisable to move to the cloud in a phased approach. Cloud services can even be ‘bolted-on’ to existing on-premise systems, easily and effectively.Choosing a provider of any good or service is never an easy task, but there are some key factors to consider when taking on cloud.
Thank you for your time today, I hope you found this session useful and please do come and visit us on stand E3037 if you have any further questions.
10 steps to the Cloud for SMBs
1.Where am I now?
2.Which ‘type’ of cloud best suits business?
3.Why will my Financial Director love me?
4.How can the cloud help me work better?
5.How secure is my data in the cloud?
6.Is the cloud environmentally friendly?
7.How does the cloud make IT easier?
8.How do I ensure business continuity in the event of a crisis?
9.Does the cloud really help me grow my business?
10.What are my next steps?
Step 1: Where am I now?
Evaluate your existing IT infrastructure – now and in the future
What do you need to stay on premise and what can be delivered via
Understanding where your capital outlay is and where you can save
time and money
Evaluating what daily tasks can be outsourced but still retaining control
of the IT infrastructure
Step 2: Which type of ‘Cloud’ best suits
Step 3: Will my Financial Director love me?
No capital expenditure = minimal start-up costs
Pay as you go = improve cash flow
SLA’s = free up valuable resources
Step 4: How can the ‘Cloud’ help me work better?
Connect with colleagues, customers, partners and
peers via the cloud
Flexibility to work from home, other offices, on the
train…the possibilities are endless
Data and information available when and where it’s
Step 5: How secure is my data in the Cloud?
24/7 Onsite engineers (365 days)
Security (CCTV & onsite security)
Service Level Agreement
Step 6: Is the Cloud environmentally friendly?
Sharing facilities & resources = reduce carbon footprint
Step 7: How does the Cloud make IT easier?
Simplifies IT functions
Step 8: How do I ensure business continuity in the
event of a crisis?
Automatic & on demand back up = peace of mind
Incremental backups = faster
Data encryption = secure
Businesses who use cloud to back-up their data were able to resolve issues 4
times faster on average than businesses that didn’t use cloud
Step 9: Does the Cloud really help grow
Access to enterprise-class technology and resources
No restrictions on hardware or equipment
Step 10:What are my next steps?
Key factors to consider when choosing a good provider…
Be clear on your needs and constraints
Understand the breadth and depth of providers
Understand providers’ operating procedures and practices
Look for the fine print