First in a series of three articles on SME cloud migration.
Many SMEs embody enormous growth potential. Yet in our line of work, we often witness the struggles that hold growth back. The underlying pain points are usually related to:
The key to counter these issues lies in digitalisation enabled via the cloud. The growing availability of cloud-based solutions means that SMEs have more opportunities to scale their business than ever before. Although “cloud” has been the topic of the decade for a while, its benefits, migration strategies and maintenance is still a confusing terrain for many.
In order to clarify the landscape, let’s start from the beginning - why cloud? The answer, as you will see, boils down to scalability.
Transform the Elasticity of Infrastructure with Cloud
On a technical level, cloud represents an elastic form of infrastructure - the opposite of any physical servers or data centres. This elasticity comes to life, for example, through the possibility of quick (and, if necessary, short notice) changes in storage or network capacity, in line with business needs.
SMEs are often in the process of strengthening their footing in their industry landscape. In circumstances, where a business might see a sudden increase (or decrease) in the number of users or sales, changes need to be made quickly. Many companies experienced this during the COVID-19 crisis, where some saw a sudden increase in users (e.g. e-commerce platforms), with others needing to downsize (e.g. airlines). Outsourcing such capacity to a cloud service provider ensures flexibility to meet the demands of external forces.
Smart Business Cost Reduction
Elasticity through digitalisation also ensures the freedom to pursue smart cost reduction. With the option to make changes in accordance to business needs, the company’s operational costs can be matched with relevant usage at all times.
Beyond that, cloud services simply eliminate the costs of setting up and running a physical data centre of your own. Digitalisation through the cloud, helps outsource such an immense task to an external provider, for whom this is a sole responsibility. Cloud service providers usually charge on a flexible monthly or annual basis, which helps business leaders plan and optimise costs accordingly.
Cloud Migration to Ease Security Concerns
Security has been one of the main concerns with regard to cloud migration. It could however be argued that for SMEs, cloud helps tackle major security questions rather than create them. By today, providers tend to have better security systems than what small businesses have installed in their on-site data centres.
A major disclaimer is nonetheless necessary here. Cloud service providers’ security guarantees are only effective in combination with a strong baseline of the business’ own cybercapacity and ability to audit the provider. This means that your company must adhere to basic cyberhygiene measures, strengthen your cybercapacity and have secure systems in place in order to fully safeguard the company. SMEs are therefore still responsible for auditing the trust placed in the service provider.
Enable Remote and Foster Innovation with Cloud
Once you have successfully implemented your cloud-first strategy, you have established a solid foundation upon which true innovation may flourish. Cloud ensures location-independent accessibility, where data and applications are available at all times. This paves the way for building remote teams and thereby tapping into a whole new world of talent.
We have also seen that cloud migration inspires employees and teams to think about their jobs from a different angle. They start seeing possibilities in their work processes that were previously consolidated within more rigid systems. Availability and flexibility tends to lead to more effective collaboration, which in turn fuels creativity.
Digitalisation as a Lifeline
Cloud therefore ensures scalability not only through technical infrastructure but also by empowering your team. Business landscapes are changing faster than ever before. The adoption of a cloud-first strategy is becoming crucial, in order to be able to simultaneously adapt and grow in these circumstances. Cloud is no longer a luxury for large enterprises, but a lifeline for SMEs.
Next up in the series: How to start your cloud migration journey?
Get in touch to further explore how this applies to your business specifically:
Digital transformation strategist | Privacy advisor | Cyber anthropologist | Author