Why Local Businesses Should Move to the Cloud?

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Anywhere, Everywhere

Your data is with you – no matter where you are.

Take Google Docs as an example, if you’re not able to go to your office and you have to work on a document – all you need to do is login to your corporate Google Apps service, select the file and click ‘Share’ to start real-time collaboration on that document without considering the geographical boundaries you’re in.

It is possible for organizations to get their data, that’s essential for running their businesses, anytime, anywhere.

Time/Resource Saving

How much time does it take to setup a mail server for your organization on your custom domain? Am not into web servers, web development or the likes to be straight forward but once I thought of having an email address ending with MyFavDomainName.com, I bought that domain name and 15 minutes later I had 50 email accounts (powered by Gmail or 50 available users accounts powered by Google Apps) for my own pleasure, including other services like Google Docs, Tasks, Calendar, Sites etc. for productivity and collaboration between those users.

No need for a large IT Department to handle your tasks anymore. Plus you get access to a setup/infrastructure that only large organizations can afford.

No Maintenance/Updates

Your services are not hosted on a server inside your office building or in the IT Department. They are hosted for you by someone else’s IT department, somewhere else in the world. They are responsible for the maintenance of the servers, software and updates. It frees you from these tasks altogether so you can focus more on your direct business needs.

Another thing is that as soon as updates are available they are installed/provided to your users instantly. Or by your permission which is not more than clicking a Yes. Take this as an example, Google emailed me that few new services are available for Google Apps users do you want to enable them for your users? I logged in as Admin, selected the services I wanted to enable and clicked done, that’s it.

Uptime

Forget about electricity outages, power surges destroying your equipment, high energy costs or UPS systems for your services to be available. Most of the Cloud services offer 99.95% uptime, which is more than enough for most of the businesses here. Let me quote a couple of statements from the article “How to Choose Best Web Host for you?”

“…The day Salman Taseer got killed, due to huge traffic Geo, Jang and Dawn websites went down but Express Tribune didn’t. Reason: Geo, Jang and Dawn are hosted on dedicated servers which couldn’t hold the traffic spike, while Express Tribune is powered by Amazon’s EC2 cloud.”

Security

You are not their only customer and they know that their reputation online and consecutively business success depends upon their security. The cloud services offer far better security than an average business here can afford to.

How much does it cost to hire a Pro to manage your sites/server security? For small business with 40-50 users, the salary of an IT Security Professional can easily eat their IT Department budget alone. If you hire an ‘average joe’, this happens:

Price Comparison:

This option is highly dependent on your needs. For small businesses or lower needs, it is very much cost saving. You increase the number of users or services and the costs go too high. Google Apps now offers 10 free users in the basic version; more users mean $50 per user, per year ($4.16/month), for 100 users that will cost around 35,000/month. What you get is: Gmail, Calendar, Docs, Groups, Sites, and Video etc.

Microsoft Office 365 for Small business offers $6/user/month for 50 users that translates to ~25,000/month. Far less than the salary of your System Admin alone and what you get is this: 25GB mailbox, Office Web Apps (for document editing/viewing), Exchange Online, Spam filtering, Antivirus, Sharepoint Online, Desktop Sharing, Audio/Video Calls etc.

Mid-Size businesses can go for the $16 per user/month option if they want Office Web Apps, otherwise there is a $10 option too. For basic email services it can go to as low as $4 per user.

Moving to the cloud is a good decision for Small to Medium businesses in Pakistan that have not very much customized needs and need flexibility. If you’re a large organization with highly customized needs and solutions than you should better be with your current solution. But then again the state of Wyoming that has 10,000 workers is moving to Google Apps.


  • Xahid

    IT Services are not just email/Documents/Calendar!
    altho. its good idea to move on those cloud services for Small business specially here in Pakistan, but its highly depends on Good internet connection, and at least one IT Person. and that’s what small business “men” are doing here and still you are depends on electricity, UPS, etc …
    When you live in Pakistan, no matter what you do, you will face these disasters.

  • Harris

    Good article, we have already moved to cloud computing for our office and it rocks … it gives us access to the loads of our features offered by google …. hence giving us one window to operate in ….

  • sunny

    good

  • Good info but my question will be that if you are using Google and Facebook they are social networks
    and now if you are putting important documents in cloud computing then your files can be shared by anyone depending upon privacy policies.

    I know cloud computing will be used by everyone in next few years

    • Rameez Kakakhel

      Google Apps is a completely different approach than what I think you have in mind.
      Your data is yours… Those with Admin rights have access to it.
      Problem occurs when someone else gets access to
      google’s system… now he has access to everyone’s files…

  • AK

    A well written Article!

  • In my view, security is the key concern. As you mentioned, Pakistani websites got hacked. The quesiton is: What’s the guarantee that some one like wikileaks won’t attempt to hack google?

    Cloud computing will be used by the companies but it will take time. If the resources are available at a lower cost, companies prefer to have a person instead of ‘virtual’ arrangements all the time.

    Nice article though. Thanks for sharing

    • Rameez Kakakhel

      I would like to Quote this:
      “The only secure computer is one that’s unplugged, locked in a safe, and buried 20 feet under the ground in a secret location … and I’m not even too sure about that one.” — attributed to Dennis Huges, FBI.
      .
      .
      No computer once connected to the Internet is safe. What you have to do is decide which one is How much secure.
      Cloud services offer more security than you can locally afford.

  • Wow! That was a nice quote!

    As I am not a security expert, I can’t comment about the international security versus local security issue – Perhaps some IT expert can throw light on it.

    I am not denying that local businesses should not use cloud computing. However, I am sharing my practical experience i.e. people feel more comfortable to have an in-house IT person with whom they can talk, discuss and who can ‘fix’ their computers.

    At times it happen that companies don’t want their payroll data or other sensitive information to move out of a particular department. Hence, it would take lot of time to convince local companies on the point which you have mentioned in your article. Companies need to be demonstrated the cost-benefit analysis in clear details to convince them. Also, I would add that it would take a mind set to accept this offer as well.

    • Rameez Kakakhel

      Now that’s a nice point, in fact both of them.
      .
      “Mind Set” and “Payroll” ones. Yes, you’ll have to make people come out of the conventional mindset about their IT infrastructure.
      About they payroll, then developing trust will take time. But certainly you can’t trust everyone with that.
      There are services that tell you about the Uptime of different cloud services and their reliability. Some day they will probably incorporate the Trust index too or probably news stories related to them. Here is one: http://www.cloudfail.net
      .
      .
      “Cloud services offer more security than you can locally afford.”
      There are good security experts in Pak. Even Great hackers but I said your small company can’t just afford them. Their salaries are linked to the international market and not local.

  • culture clashes!!!

    ‘average joe’
    man is this article a cut-copy-edit-paste
    type stuff …you’re writing on Pakistani website ..there should be some culture representation here … you should use the word “average sheda ” instead … “+1” if you “likes” it

    • Rameez Kakakhel

      Hi…
      I repect your opinion. Yes, it is a local blog and the content here reflects the needs, wants and analysis of local content.
      The problem is with ‘sheeda’, the image that this word creates. In our culture SHEEDA doesn’t use the internet, he walks with a big stick, looks at everyone with fierce eyes and loves to fight. Unfortunately he doesn’t fit the description of the guy I wanted to show here.

  • You all know about DropBox, please read this post from Sophos Consumer Security Blog about their security issue faced in last month.
    http://nakedsecurity.sophos.com/2011/06/21/dropbox-lets-anyone-log-in-as-anyone/

  • Cloud computing may get flopped because there will be no privacy at all. All the personal data will be available online, and may be accessible to hackers.