SMBs may not see cloud’s silver lining

Many SMBs seriously considering a switch to cloud computing but failing to see changes needed to obtain the rewards

Even though small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) appear ready to investigate the opportunities presented by cloud computing, they are failing to factor in safeguards as they increase reliance on the Internet for everyday applications according to a new report released by ISP Easynet Connect.

The survey of 270 SMBs in the UK showed that many companies were seriously considering a switch to ‘cloud computing’ or Software as a Service (SaaS). A quarter of respondents plan to move to cloud based services or applications within two years, with around half (47%) expecting to do so within five years.

But, even though SMBs could identify some apparent benefits of the cloud such as cost savings (35.2%) and increased remote and flexible working (34%), few firms regarded the move to cloud computing as something that would involve a re-evaluation of their network infrastructure or Internet connection.

Only a tenth of SMBs indicated that they had a formal ‘cloud strategy’ including consideration of Internet connectivity issues and just 12% said they planned on increasing their Internet bandwidth to account for possible higher traffic levels. A further 13% said they would explore business continuity measures to safeguard their connection and alarmingly, only 9.2% said that they would put in place more stringent security measures.

Chris Stening, MD of Easynet Connect warned SMBs of the need to look at the big picture.  “Clearly, SMBs are eager to embrace the many advantages that cloud computing and SaaS offers them but…once the majority of your mission-critical applications are hosted over the web, ensuring you have the most secure and available Internet access possible becomes even more important. This should be prioritised just as highly as the staff training or cultural issues when formal switch over plans are developed.”

Stening added that the additional investment in improved Internet Connectivity would be far less than the savings made by a switch to cloud computing which could save thousands of pounds by moving to more cost-effective licensing models, reduce costs through remote working and offer more value from more collaborative ways of working.

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