SMEs harnessing the cloud for a brighter future

Whilst working in the tech sector, I have seen few technology solutions as disruptive and beneficial to SMEs as cloud computing. The new tools and services offered by the cloud can streamline and improve businesses operations and means even the smallest company can compete on a global scale.The way data is stored and accessed remotely has changed the traditional computing model from a product to now a service, with the cloud offering infrastructure, software, resources and information as a utility on your computer or personal device. Information conventionally saved on in-house servers can now be safely and securely stored in large data centres and accessed via the internet.
Steady rise for cloud computing
The cloud has now been around for quite a few years, and I’m pleased to say it has largely been a success story. Adoption continues to grow at a huge annual rate of 20 per cent in the UK with more and more companies realising the revolutionary impact it can have on their business and the edge it can give over competitors. Despite this, I’m still often asked by SMEs “how can the cloud benefit my business? And, “what’s in it for me?”
Yet, it is the SME market with arguably the most to gain from cloud computing.
Changing the game for SMEs
With the cloud, employees are now allowed a greater degree of flexibility, often working more effectively from home or on-the-go than in the office.  As long as you have an internet connection, being out of the office is no longer a barrier to collaboration, accessing company files or sending and receiving e-mails. With the cloud, technology can adapt to the needs of the workforce and customers giving unprecedented business agility essential for SMEs to flourish.
The cloud not only offers enhanced operational flexibility it also can enable a range of cost savings. In fact, a recent Rackspace survey found that US and UK businesses saved an average of 23% on infrastructure costs by using cloud services. Energy costs of in-house servers will reduce, IT staff will be freed up to focus on other areas of business need, and disaster recover expenses are dramatically lowered. With cloud services, scaling up business activities is much easier with resources increased quickly as required rather than in line with the space you have on your server.
But is security a concern in cloud computing?
Even though flexibility and cost saving are often cited as the two main motivating factors for cloud adoption, in my opinion security is just as important. Some SMEs have fears over protecting their data, however, security will most likely improve in the cloud. Your cloud provider should ensure encryption and back-ups, and make certain that all data within your business is in a centralised location rather than “lost” in disparate silos or spread out among un-integrated technology types.
Reaching new heights with cloud
By embracing new and innovative technology solutions, such as cloud computing, businesses have the opportunity to expand internationally to compete in any market. As the trade association for the UK technology sector, techUK looks to ensure that the full potential of technology is harnessed right across the economy. By embracing new and innovative technology solutions, such as cloud computing, businesses have the opportunity to expand internationally to compete in any market
As such, it is paramount that the adoption of cloud services, even in the smallest businesses, is encouraged and supported, ensuring SMEs in the UK are ahead of the international competition. This is why we have been working in close coordination with a number of European partners to develop the European Cloud Scout, a free to use, interactive tool providing all the necessary information on the legal, organisational and technical requirements for SMEs to get on the cloud.
With the opportunity to increase security, reduce business costs and implement a more flexible working environment, the time is now for SMEs to explore how the cloud can benefit their business.
If you would like to know more about how your organisation can successfully adopt the cloud please visit