GUEST ESSAY: Turning to cloud services can help SMBs scale to meet growth needs

By Brian Sibley

Meeting the demands of the modern-day SMB is one of the challenges facing many business leaders and IT operators today. Traditional, office-based infrastructure was fine up until the point where greater capacity was needed than those servers could deliver, vendor support became an issue, or the needs of a hybrid workforce weren’t being met.

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In the highly competitive SMB space, maintaining and investing in a robust and efficient IT infrastructure can be one of the ways to stay ahead of competitors.

Thankfully, with the advent of cloud offerings, a new scalable model has entered the landscape; whether it be 20 or 20,000 users, the cloud will fit all and with it comes a much simpler, per user cost model. This facility to integrate modern computing environments in the day-to-day workplace, means businesses can now stop rushing to catch up and with this comes the invaluable peace of mind that these operations will scale up or down as required. Added to which, the potential cost savings and added value will better serve each business and help to future-proof the organisation, even when on a tight budget. Cloud service solutions are almost infinitely flexible, rather than traditional on-premises options and won’t require in-house maintenance.

Cloud-sourced sustainability

Sibley

When it comes to environmental impact and carbon footprint, data centres are often thought to be a threat, contributing to climate change, but in reality, cloud is a great option. The scalability of cloud infrastructure and the economies of scale they leverage facilitate not just cost but carbon savings too.  Rather than a traditional model where a server runs in-house at 20% capacity, using power 24/7/365 and pumping out heat, cloud data centres are specifically designed to run and cater for multiple users more efficiently, utilising white space cooling, for example, to optimise energy consumption.

When it comes to the bigger players like Microsoft and Amazon, they are investing heavily in sustainable, on-site energy generation to power their data centres; even planning to feedback excess power into the National Grid. Simply put, it’s more energy efficient for individual businesses to use a cloud offering than to run their own servers – the carbon footprint for each business using a cloud solution becomes much smaller.

Simplified scaling 

With many security solutions now being cloud based too, security doesn’t need to be compromised and can be managed remotely via SOC teams either in-house or via the security provider (where the resources are greater and have far more specialist expertise).

Ultimately, a cloud services solution, encompassing servers, storage, security and more, will best service SMBs; it’s scalable, provides economies of scale and relieves in-house IT teams from many mundane yet critical tasks, allowing them to focus on more profitable activities.

 About the essayist: Brian Sibley, Solutions Architect, Espria. A Solutions Architect with over 40 years industry experience, over 25 years of which are based on Microsoft and associated third party technologies, reinforced by relevant certifications and training

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