“The adoption of cloud services will continue to rise due to the improved usage of cloud-based services including mobility, increased efficiency, cost-effectiveness, streamlined collaboration, and speed of connectivity” – CXO Today

Although some organizations are still hesitant to make the leap to the cloud, the benefits are well worth the effort — SMBs can increase productivity and boost their competitive edge. By 2020, 78% of small businesses will be taking advantage of cloud computing, according to a Microsoft SMB Study.

A large majority of SMBs are currently using at least one cloud-based application, a number that is likely to increase this year. As new trends unfold, SMBs have a lot to look forward to in terms of cloud flexibility, cost efficiency and scalability.

The Reason for Growth

Organizations are rapidly adopting cloud solutions for different business functions. Platform as a service (PaaS) is expected to grow by 32% by 2020 while infrastructure as a service (IaaS) will reach $17.5 billion by the end of 2018. SMBs need the option to create a hybrid configuration that supports all their business processes, optimizes performance based on workloads, and contains costs.

  • Cost-Effective. Most cloud models are economical and help reduce operational expenses. Costs depend on many factors, such as usage, bandwidth, and storage. You’ll save on the upfront costs associated with hardware and software, as well as overhead costs on power, cooling, and maintaining equipment. According to Microsoft, 82% of companies in 2017 experienced lower costs as a result of cloud adoption.
  • Mobility. The cloud has changed the way mobile devices are used for business. Employees are able to access business applications from virtually any location, creating a new realm of collaboration. The cloud offers rapid deployment, device diversity and immediate updates for mobile.
  • Increased Efficiency. A recent survey by Frost & Sullivan notes that SMBs investing in cloud collaboration tools increased productivity by as much as 400%. The cloud offers flexibility during changes in the market and agility during internal pivots. It’s highly scalable, and facilitates integration with other technologies, like automation for data backup and business continuity.
  • Collaboration. The cloud can be accessed on any device from any location. In a world where remote work is commonplace, cloud-based applications offer the ability to collaborate with remote employees, locally or internationally.

What is Different About Cloud Computing in 2018 for SMBs?

This year, the cloud is impacting businesses in new ways. SMBs have learned from the challenges and opportunities their peers have faced and are experimenting with specific offerings that best suit their operations.

  • Growth in cloud services and solutions usage. Although the digital age relies heavily on software, other cloud models are growing, too. PaaS in expected to grow to 56% adoption by 2020 and IaaS is predicted to reach a market of $15.6 billion this year. SMBs are using these services for consumer cloud services, cloud-based file sharing, email, chat, CRM, and internal communication.
  • Cloud and on-premise connectivity working together. SMBs are retaining their on-premise network and adding onto their network with cloud computing when they want to adopt new technologies. Hybrid configurations allow SMBs to right-size their cloud needs, maximize their previous investments, and run workloads where they perform best.
  • Cloud computing is now serverless. Businesses are shifting to serverless options for building and running applications. This model lets you offload the responsibility of managing and provisioning infrastructure to your service provider, so you can focus on other strategic objectives for your business. Serverless computing simplifies deployment as it decreases the complexity of software, is compatible with many micro-services, and facilitates agile development.
  • Edge computing for real-time services and IoT. As SMBs need to scale up from small IoT deployments, they’ll see the value of edge computing. Certain factors, like data-transfer costs or real-time response rates, reduce the effectiveness of cloud computing in an IoT deployment. Edge computing augments growing IoT use cases as it reduces the amount of bandwidth, cloud processing, and cloud storage that’s necessary.
  • More solutions, services and awareness for cloud security. In 2017, 49% of businesses said they were delaying cloud deployments due to a cybersecurity skills gap. In order to combat growing concerns over cloud security, cloud providers have diligently worked to adopt framework controls, undergo certifications to verify they security of their cloud, and developed a suite of managed security services for those who don’t have the resources to tackle cloud security on their own (i.e. encryption, SIEM platforms, and policy and procedure development). There’s more awareness around the fact that technology, cloud users, and processes/ policies all contribute to effective security.

Depending on your goals for 2018, consider adopting some of the latest cloud capabilities. You’ll find that you can improve your customer experience, facilitate collaboration, innovate faster, and reduce operational costs.

LightEdge offers HITRUST-certified cloud solutions that can easily be blended with your existing infrastructure in a hybrid model. We also offer security professional services and managed services if you’re short on resources. Learn more and feel free to reach out with questions about taking advantage of the cloud.