Survey: SMBs ready to embrace cloud savings

Most small and midsized businesses are eager to embrace cloud computing benefits, but few are considering the network and security implications.

UK small-to-midsized business (SMB) is ready to take advantage of the cost-saving benefits promised by cloud computing, but without considering security or network resources.

One in four respondents to a new survey out today said they planned to move to cloud-based services or applications within two years, with around half (47 per cent) expecting to do so within five years.

A third (35 per cent) were quick to point to the savings possible by hosting IT infrastructure or applications with an internet-based third party provider and nearly as many (34 per cent) saw benefits of increased remote and flexible working.

But just one in ten of the 270 SMBs interviewed by internet service provider (ISP) Easynet Connect said they had a formal strategy that included any consideration of internet connectivity and network bandwidth issues.

Only 12 per cent said they planned on increasing their internet bandwidth to account for possible higher traffic levels; 13 per cent said they would explore business continuity measures to safeguard their connections; and only 9.2 per cent said that they would put in place more stringent security measures.

Chris Stening, Easynet Connect managing director, told IT PRO: "SMBs should talk to their software and services cloud providers about what services and guarantees are available when they start moving more of their businesses into the cloud."

He said it was important to assess what proportion of business could be conducted using cloud-based IT services before assigning availability and up-time of both the internet connection and bandwidth, as well as the security of software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications used.

"Work out how many people you'll have accessing the cloud services and from where before you negotiate with your ISP or software vendor to move IT services into the cloud," Stening said. "And work out what the impact to your business would be if you weren't able to access these services."

He added that Easynet Connect was itself evaluating a move to new SaaS-based customer relationship management (CRM) and enterprise resource planning (ERP) software: "We see the attraction in buying SaaS and have the network, but other companies need to evaluate what availability and security their providers offer," he concluded.

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