The Power of Cloud Services for SMB

By CMD Technology Group

4 min read

What Exactly Are Cloud Services?

Cloud services are on-demand solutions available to users through the internet from a Cloud provider. For example, Office 365 provides an e-mail solution, and more. Microsoft users can access anywhere they have internet access from almost any device. I can even get to Office 365 from a particular gaming console. In the early days of cloud computing, ‘Cloud’ referred to services that came through the internet from a third-party. However, today we also have private in-house clouds. 

Should You Be Looking Into Them?

Yes! Every year, IT has a buzz-word that rises to the top of the list. In the ancient past of a few years ago, ‘client/server computing’ was the major buzz-word. More recently, ‘virtualization.’ Though virtualization is still a major buzz-word today, ‘Cloud Computing’ is now on the top of the list. There is a reason these buzz-words rise to the top of the list; they are a growing, viable trend for IT solutions. Cloud may not be for everyone, but there is not a single administrator who should not be looking to see how cloud services can help their organization. Funny, I said the same thing about virtualization not too long ago. 

Reasons to Look Into Cloud Services

  • Lower Costs Potential and Less Risk. If you host a service in house, you need the hardware resources to house it, the expertise to build and maintain it, and resources to operate it. Most of the time, cloud services are subscription based. Initially, the monthly cost of those subscriptions may be substantial. However, compare it to what it would cost to have the services in-house. Add up the expense of the server, the environment to protect the server (power and air conditioning), installation, maintenance, backup, and upgrades. You get all of that from the cloud without you having to deal with or worry about it. The cloud service also has the security and the disaster recovery resources already, which means lower risk to you.

  • More Freedom, Greater Mobility. Sharing ideas, files, and data can be done almost anywhere, anytime, and on any client.

Most SMB do not have a large IT staff with a wide variety of technology skillsets. They usually have one or two people who have to be a jack-of-all-trades. I have seen places where this person is the head of accounting. They have a CPA, rather than formal training in IT. With cloud solutions, the need for in-house expertise on a product is practically eliminated. The burden on the ‘IT’ people is lifted, and day-to-day IT tasks are reduced.

Here are a few examples of cloud offerings and an idea of what they give you (some offerings provide more based on the subscription level):

  • Office 365 gives you hosted Exchange e-mail services, the latest version of MS Office for multiple devices, shared information and files (OneDrive), hosted storage, team collaboration (Skype or Teams), and more.

  • Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services make it possible to put any server, even your entire server infrastructure in the cloud.

  • Trend Micro, CrowdStrike, Symantec, and more give you cloud administered antivirus. The AV client still resides on each device, but the administration is in the cloud. This way, you do not need to install AV administration services on a local server. You can also get to the console from anywhere to perform tasks. Mobile devices can also have the AV client updated from anywhere, anytime they have an internet connection.

  • Barracuda, Carbonite, Norton, and more all offer highly compliant backup solutions to the cloud. You don’t need the storage or administration hosted in-house.

There are many more cloud offerings than these, and it is most definitely worth looking at cloud services whether you are a small or large company. But, should you go all-in on cloud services or is a hybrid approach more beneficial? Which cloud services offer the best innovation for your organization? What questions should your team be asking for long-term implementation? These are some of the questions we help our customers answer every day, as we develop sound strategies with our expertise to help them reach their goals. We invite you to reach out to us for a no pressure, relaxed consultation. We are happy to answer your biggest questions!

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