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Cloud Trends: Some Developments That Benefit SMEs

Cloud trends that benefits small medium businesses

The cloud marches on… the question is where next?

The cloud is perhaps the fastest growing technology trend of the last decade. When the world was dealing with the aftermath of the credit crunch and reeling with the blows from The Great Recession, businesses still needed the latest technology tools to ensure they could be competitive.

The cloud offered the opportunity to obtain those tools while eliminating much of the need for CAPEX and enabling the consumption of tech services on a monthly basis, directly budgeted from OPEX. Cloud computing continues to offer exciting, disruptive opportunities for businesses to strip out inefficiency, reduce costs and capitalise. Here we look at some cloud trends of which 10 - 100 people firms need to be aware or from which they are likely to benefit.

1. Growth of hosted desktop

Hosted Desktop, also known as Desktop as a Service or DaaS, is likely to continue to grow in popularity. Hosted Desktop provides a range of benefits that make conventional on-premise approaches to computing look out-dated, including:

  • Familiar Windows office computing for all in-office and remote users
  • Eliminates significant portions of on-premise infrastructure
  • Reduced footprint saves floor space and eliminates server room clutter
  • Reduced energy consumption for PCs, servers, storage and cooling
  • Reduction in onsite IT support requirement
  • Less firefighting and increase strategic focus of IT staff
  • Vastly increased IT security and prevention of data leakage
  • Significant cost reduction over life-cycle

For businesses where IT isn’t the core business, it no longer needs to be a major distraction and means the number of companies switching to Hosted Desktop is set to continue growing.

2. Increased commoditisation

The increasing proliferation of managed services providers is likely to increase commoditisation in the SME cloud market. This will probably create a focus on price, with aggressive players trying to undercut other competitors.

As ever, you get what you pay for. Low prices are a result of the economy of scale and margins being trimmed to the bone. Over-commitment and under-resourcing mean the service levels of those offering cheap prices are likely to suffer.

It would be unwise and risky to choose to obtain business-critical services from an MSP that, in terms of service delivery, is walking a tightrope…

3. Greater focus on strategic IT

There are a number of strands that play out to create the trend for more strategic IT for 10 -100 people businesses:

  • The increased use of cloud and IT Support Managed Services is freeing IT managers and internal teams to perform at a higher level and add more value
  • Brexit vote has seen the resurgence of uncertainty in the economy, increasing the potential for another downturn
  • Increased competition in the marketplace as businesses try to maintain growth in a climate where there is an increased chance of investment decisions being deferred
  • The greater strategic focus of IT manager ultimately enhances the capability of technology to better support the future success of the business

4. Reducing cybersecurity risks

Cybercriminals are continuing to have a field day. Ransomware and phishing attacks are primary methods of blackmailing and committing identity-based fraud. Exercising best practice for internet and email use is a must. Hacking to steal customer data is an ever-present threat. SMEs cannot afford to become complacent and need to adopt strategies to reduce risk. ISO 27001 the quality standard for information security management needs to be a key point of focus for any SME that is in the market for cloud services.

5. Internet water coolers and coffee pots!

The Internet of Things (IoT) is rooted in the cloud. The consumer wave of gadgets and home automation was the focus a couple of years ago. Now the novelty has worn off, the really useful stuff this technology can deliver to SMEs might get properly established! From watercoolers that can be monitored remotely for faults to coffee pots that can re-order refills, the cloud is set to create more efficient working environments…

And it’s not just water and coffee! From shredders to staplers, the potential for IoT devices to be maintained, filled (or emptied) and located when they have gone walkabout, means managing physical business assets of all types is likely to become easier and more automated.

Take advantage of cloud trends with HTL Support

HTL Support focuses on helping firms of 10 - 100 people in the services sector to exploit the cloud and get more value from technology investment. To see how HTL Support is able to help your firm take advantage of the cloud, simply get in touch today.

Click here to read our guide ‘The FD's dream IT budget’.

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