Posted by Kalyani M. on Jun 5, 2013
For companies looking for ways to stay ahead of the curve, cloud services are all the rage. Cloud storage and sync services can allow small businesses to tighten their budgets through smaller staff needs and reduced IT costs. Unfortunately, as a recent UK report from the Federation of Small Businesses shows, while almost 60% of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) say that investment in technology is “important”, only 26% actively take part. While security concerns have kept some businesses at bay, a private cloud service can offer all of the cost savings of the cloud with peace of mind, knowing that private company data won’t be breached.
In place of in-house servers and software maintained by large IT departments, cloud services require little onsite organization and management. According to Marketing Director for Preact, Warren Butler, “when a customer calls you, the last thing they want to do is explain their situation to a new person every time. It’s frustrating. What they want is a seamless operation, and cloud technology is enabling this. Customer Relationship Management systems these days give customer service representatives a full 360-degree view of the customer – all tweets, all e-mails, all phone calls, all complaints, every single interaction in one screen. This shortens the call, improves resolution, and helps businesses reduce frustration and improve customer retention.” This cloud revolution in business benefits all sectors from manufacturing to marketing and customer service resulting in cut costs, better workflow, and improved employee morale.
Cloud services help small businesses leverage technology in their favor to enjoy infrastructure previously only available to big corporations. Through such services, businesses of all sizes can improve productivity through enabling worker mobility and flexible Bring Your Own Device policies. Backing up sensitive data to a private cloud also helps ensure resiliency as over half of small businesses are put out of operation within just a year of a major security breach. But with cloud storage and syncing, essential company information will be protected on cloud servers even in the case of an internal outage. In the face of a difficult economy, rapid technological developments, and unpredictable shopping patterns, SMEs can capitalize on the benefits of the cloud to help stay ahead of the game.
According to DataOne Asia President and CEO Cyril Rocke, “Businesses that migrate their IT systems to the cloud could save at least 50 percent of their expenses on infrastructure, management and support.” This massive reduction in expenses requires the upfront work of IT reorganization, but the overall savings far outweigh the hassle of restructuring. As Rocke says, “Most IT users tend to underestimate the cost of procuring infrastructure. Companies cannot do it in a snap and they need to follow a long procurement process that is costly and could last more than a year. This process severely damages businesses, and reduces their ability to react and roll out new ideas and solutions.” Rather than trying to catch up, SMEs can proactively position themselves to securely stay ahead of market trends and consumer demands through private cloud services.
When small business CEO Gary Peterson first launched his business, he paid $15,000 for a top of the line server, spending another $400 monthly for secure hosting services. Now, the server that was once high performance is now prehistoric, gathering dust and taking up much needed office space while Peterson turns to cloud services to take advantage of the convenience and savings the cloud provides. According to his article on Forbes.com, through cloud services Peterson’s company “has the same infrastructure, server capacity and overall data security as companies 1,000 times our size.” The savings and security that cloud services offer to small businesses should wake up IT managers and HR teams that have previously been wary of turning to the cloud. With convenient scalability, private cloud services are quickly becoming the standard solution for businesses of all sizes looking for a competitive edge.
A Private Cloud Solution for SMEs
Many cloud services that present themselves as “secure” are anything but, with large security gaps leaving user data vulnerable to hacking, data mining, and internal exploitation. For true security, only anonymous cloud storage and sync services like that provided by SpiderOak offers all the convenience and cost savings of the cloud while guarding against security breaches. SpiderOak stands apart in the crowded cloud market through complete data privacy and user anonymity. With 256-bit AES encryption and two-factor password authentication, SpiderOak ensures that sensitive company data, folder names, filenames, and passwords cannot be read or even accessed by SpiderOak and its employees.
As for two-factor authentication, this is just like the process used by some banking and financial services that require a PIN or correct answer to a secret question. For SpiderOak, this means sending a private code through SMS along with the encrypted password to log in. Once logged in, users can store and sync files with complete privacy, as SpiderOak has “zero-knowledge” of uploaded data and plaintext encryption keys. Individual data encryption keys are exclusively stored on each user’s computer. This way, sensitive data is kept fully anonymous and kept in-house. SpiderOak’s services are available on Windows, Mac, and Linux desktop environments, along with Android and iOS mobile platforms, granting SMEs a competitive edge in an uncertain future.