Cloud

SME(plus): move your server from broom closet to cloud!

November 8, 2021 - 4 minutes reading time
Article by Erik-Jan Van Loenen

Many of my customers fall into the SME (plus) segment in terms of company size. What I have noticed is that companies of this size are often the last to make the transition to the cloud. They are generally preceded by freelancers, small SMEs and large companies. They opt for the cloud because of the lower investment in IT or the ability to respond quickly and flexibly to changing circumstances, for example.

In many SME (plus) companies, the server is still literally within the walls of the building. This is called on-premise, also jokingly called server in the broom closet (I'm not surprised if the server is actually located there). On the one hand, this server is vital for these companies to carry out their daily activities (earning income). On the other hand, these servers are often insufficiently looked after and the risks of (data) theft, fire, lightning strike, power failure, ransomware and other security risks or outages are grossly underestimated.

Investing again

Buying an on-premises server is a big investment for many SMEs. They often have a lot of money set aside for this or have incurred lease costs. In practice, however, many of these servers are technically written off or no longer meet current requirements and necessary capacity. This is annoying, because it means that new investments have to be made in replacing or expanding the server.

To the cloud

Cloud is also known as IT from the power outlet. Just like a wall socket, all you have to do is plug it in and the device starts working. You don't have to generate your own power or maintain the infrastructure and you only pay for the amount you actually use. If you want to use more or less, it's just a matter of adding or removing a plug. The contract does not have to be modified and there is no long application procedure.

Cloud is also provided as a service. Management tasks are taken over by the cloud provider, with the result that you and your people no longer have to deal with day-to-day IT management. It's like buying mowed grass instead of a lawnmower.

I will now elaborate on the three benefits/aspects of cloud.

1. Speed and flexibility

As an entrepreneur, you want or need to respond quickly to changes. Suddenly there is a pandemic, a market development or you see opportunities for which you need to adapt your IT quickly. That old server in the broom closet is often a problem, because it doesn't offer the right support. The cloud, on the other hand, can quickly deliver the elements you need to keep your business productive.

2. Scalability

Cloud vendors and their many data centers are often incredibly large. The advantage of this is that all services, procedures and security are excellently designed. Earlier I mentioned the risks of the server in the broom closet, such as fire, theft and security issues. Within the cloud, these risks are minimized by top specialists at a price for which you cannot possibly do that in an on-premises IT environment..

Many SMEs have to deal with seasonal or other busy times that create different IT needs. The size of the IT (e.g. the web server) is then adjusted to the busiest moment. The disadvantage of this is that you are actually using a system that is too large and too expensive. This is not the case with the cloud, because the size of cloud data centers means there is always room to temporarily switch capacity. You can then automatically increase and decrease your system size based on the system load.

3. Cost-effective

Cloud vendors use a pay-to-use construction. This means that you only pay for the elements/scope that you use; no upfront investment is required. If you (temporarily) turn off elements, then you no longer pay for them. This makes it possible to deploy a very powerful system, a proof of concept environment or a test environment for a very small amount of money. Because you can scale up quickly, you don't need to purchase a large residual capacity for the sporadic moments when the peak load occurs. In other words, you purchase a small, inexpensive system for normal use and only at peak load do you temporarily use a slightly more expensive, but much more powerful system. Another cost advantage, of course, is that when using cloud you don't pay start-up costs with investment in expensive hardware. This ensures optimal cash flow and facilitates internal decision-making.

One less thing to worry about

In short, cloud allows you to a) focus on your business, b) not worry if the broom closet is flooded, and c) grow and shrink easily. In other words, with the cloud you as an SME have one less thing to think about. If that's not a reason to switch...

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