MANAGED SERVICES ARTICLES
Why small and medium sized businesses should consider cloud services.
Director of Sales, Managed Services
Cover-All Computer Services Corp.
IT data processing facilities were once only accessible to large businesses. With cloud computing, Small to Medium Sized Businesses (SMB’s) are reaping the benefits at an increasing rate.
Over the past few years there has been quite a buzz in the IT hosting sector surrounding the cloud. ‘Cloud computing’ is a clever, recently introduced, marketing term for something that has been going on in the IT outsourcing sector for decades.
Twenty five years ago, large outsourcing Managed Services Providers (MSP’s) bought large, very expensive computing environments, and partitioned them to allow multiple businesses to run on the same computer, less expensively than running on a dedicated machine. At the time, Microsoft and Intel were in their infancy and most businesses employed proprietary computing environments from companies such as IBM and Digital; this was an expensive proposition. In addition, many SMB’s operated manually without the advent of computers.
Twenty five years later Microsoft and Intel are household names and global adoption has driven down the cost of implementing computerized business applications. Hardware manufacturers have adapted to the changing landscape, allowing hardware to be purchased in a far more granular manner than had been possible in the past. The benefactors are SMB’s that are now able to purchase affordable computing solutions.
So if these computing solutions are affordable, why not just buy them and host them in-house?
Capital vs. operating expense
Of course companies can purchase their own hardware and software, amortize it over some period of time and write it off as a capital expense; but does this make sense? First, an MSP likely has a cost advantage because they purchase more hardware and software than the average business. This translates to better pricing for a small to medium sized business. Second, if they choose to partner with an MSP they will be, in effect, buying a service level from that vendor, and because the MSP is providing this service to many customers, they will ensure that their computing environment stays current. This means hardware will be refreshed on a regular cycle, it will always be correctly maintained, and the required security and software patches will be administered as required. This is not always the case in all SMB’s.
Access to resources
An MSP will have every skill set cross-trained, so there’s always a technician available to service customer needs. This means that there is never a concern if an employee is out of the office due to vacation, sickness or training. Beyond this, MSP’s likely have the skill sets that a business can draw from on a part-time basis. This alleviates the requirement to hire new skill sets that may only be required a few hours per week.
Having their business IP housed in a purpose-built data centre offers the physical and cyber security that SMB’s most likely cannot afford. From a physical standpoint, customers will enjoy the advantage of a facility with no single point of failure. The power and air conditioning systems are all redundant, offering them a 99.99% facility uptime; something not available in most offices. Also, because the MSP is offering a service level agreement to all of its clients, they will have the cyber security in place to ensure those clients are protected from cyber threats.
Increasingly, SMB’s are recognizing the advantages of hosting their business computing environments in the cloud. An MSP offering cloud services ensures a current, cost effective, and secure solution with access to resources most businesses cannot afford.
To find out more about Cover-All’s Cloud Services, call 1-833-COVER88, or visit http://www.cover-all.ca/cloud-computing/