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How SMBs benefit by moving from cloud-first to cloud-only

(Image credit: Stokkete)

The cloud is no longer an emerging technology market. In fact, 80 per cent of the Fortune 500 is on the Microsoft Cloud, and Gartner expects that by 2019, more than 30 per cent of the 100 largest vendors’ new software investments will have shifted from cloud-first to cloud-only. Unfortunately, adoption of the cloud hasn’t been as fast for small- to medium-sized businesses (SMBs).

Only 64 per cent of SMBs currently use a cloud-based software, according to a survey by BCSG. The good news is that 88 per cent indicate they are considering using at least one cloud app in the next 2-3 years. Early adopters characterise the current market. So, what’s holding the rest back?

Why SMBs have avoided the cloud

Part of the reason that SMBs have avoided shifting to the cloud is because office adoption can be tricky. An NTT Communication survey of 1,600 ICT decision makers found that 41 per cent thought, “migrating complex apps to the cloud is more trouble than it’s worth.” SMBs want simpler and easier access to cloud tools that provide solutions and not more work.

However, what is holding most SMBs back from cloud adoption is security and data protection. 47 per cent of enterprises have lost data in the cloud, and 90 per cent of businesses surveyed by the Ponemon Institute, a privacy research firm, revealed that they had one or more security breaches a year. This is a major problem. If SMBs don’t feel that their cloud data is safe, they’re not going to risk it.

Protecting the cloud

The key then to helping SMBs shift to the cloud is to offer SaaS applications, such as Microsoft Office 365 and G Guite, alongside a cloud data protection strategy and solution such as - By combining cloud-based software with data protection and recovery, SMBs can be more assured that they won’t become one of the 32 per cent of companies that have reported data loss from their SaaS applications (2013 study by Aberdeen).

If an SMB loses data without a cloud-to-cloud backup and recovery solution in place, getting their data back can be complicated. According to the Salesforce website, the price of their data recovery is a flat $10,000 USD—a large price for an SMB, and that doesn’t cost the downtime and man hours required to recover the data; if it’s recoverable at all.

To avoid these issues, the following four points are considered best practices for SMB data protection:

1.    Mandatory Data Redundancy: Office 365 and G Suite automatically perform routine backups, but those backups can be corrupted or disrupted by a ransomware attack. However, if an SMB has three copies of their data, on two unique mediums—one offsite—then they should be protected.

2.    Verified Backups: It’s not enough for SMBs to “assume” their data has been backed up. Backups fail. Best practices require businesses to regularly test their backups by performing restores and recoveries every few months.

3.    Acquire an Automated Backup Solution: Making backups of data shouldn’t be a chore. By acquiring an enterprise-grade, cloud-to-cloud automated backup solution with robust capabilities—such as CloudAlly—SMBs can monitor their backup status, setup daily automated backups, and restore or export all of their data from one location.

4.    Top-of-the-Line Security: Choose a cloud-to-cloud backup solution that offers Amazon S3 Secure Storage and AES-25664 or something similar. You’ll also want to look for a solution that is ISO 27001 certified and one that participates in the Cloud Security Alliance STAR (Security, Trust and Assurance Registry) program.

“Worry about data loss is one of the biggest barriers I run across when it comes to cloud adoption,” says Avi Katz, CEO of CloudAlly, an all-in-one cloud-to-cloud data backup and recovery solution for Microsoft Office 365, Exchange, OneDrive, SharePoint, G Suite, Salesforce, and “The good news is that it doesn’t have to be a concern. With a solid cloud backup and recovery solution in place, the cloud can become a far more effective and safe location to work and store data than on-site. It’s just a matter of changing your perspective.”

3 benefits of a cloud-only strategy for SMBs

Once an SMB is assured that their data is safe in the cloud—by using a data backup service like CloudAlly—making the switch to a cloud-only strategy becomes much more logical. Below are just three of the benefits that SMBs can expect when they switch to using the cloud.

1.    Improved Flexibility & Collaboration

As SMBs get bigger and employ more staff, coordination and knowledge management become increasingly important. From managing people and projects to completing everyday tasks, the cloud can help.

One of the biggest benefits of the cloud is the ability to access work-related files and information from anywhere at anytime. This allows SMBs to become far more mobile and to cater to remote workers, flexible working arrangements, and an on-the-go workforce.

At the same time, the cloud makes collaboration easy from anywhere. Cloud SaaS applications like Google Drive and Salesforce allow employees to all work on a single master document at once. They can upload, edit, comment, and communicate with each other all in one location for increased efficiency. And, in the cloud, SMB owners are able to implement access and permission controls for increased security.

2.    Increased Revenue

Cloud applications have the ability to store massive amounts of data and enable mass-scale computer power. This minimises IT requirements on-site as well as physical storage needs. For example, CloudAlly offers unlimited data storage and recovery, so there’s less need to upgrade your data storage as an SMB grows. The cloud also lowers installation costs and decreases maintenance, hardware, upgrade, and support costs.

In addition, customers want to use companies that they have confidence in. The cloud can, not only, help SMBs with better and more frequent customer communication, but it can also prevent violation of customer trust due to data loss. By using a secure cloud solution, SMBs can demonstrate a higher level of customer service and attention to detail, which should lead to increased customer referrals and revenue.

3.    Increased Data Access & Security Control

“Data is not just an important part of business—many firms consider it to be their most critical asset,” revealed a 2015 CompTIA 2015 Outlook research report. The cloud now has security certificates and encryption processes that make data more secure online than on-site. By backing up your data off-site with a solution such as CloudAlly, SMBs can decrease their risks when it comes to hackers, viruses, and other cyber-security issues.

The cloud also offers SMBs access to their files anywhere, anytime, and using any device. Since and SMBs success revolves around how efficiently and effectively they do their job, improving data access can lead to cost savings and make it easier for owners to manage their business at any time of day.

SMBs who become early adopters of the cloud will have a leg up on their competitors in multiple areas from financial management to managing customers, working together, and improving their IT support. So, the earlier you begin your cloud-only approach to business the better.

Kelly Vo, freelance writer
Image Credit: Stokkete

Kelly Vo is a freelance writer with an-depth knowledge of Cloud computing, B2B and B2C marketing, e-commerce, and more. She frequently contributes to the CloudAlly blog.