The Cloud is Coming but SMBs Failing to Prepare

SMBs are ready to embrace cloud computing, but are failing to factor in safeguards as their businesses become more reliant on the Internet for everyday applications like word processing or spreadsheets, according to a report released by ISP Easynet Connect.

The report, based on interviews with 270 SMBs, showed that many companies were seriously considering a switch to ‘cloud computing’ or Software as a Service (SaaS) – where IT services or applications are hosted on the Internet and delivered via a web browser, rather than sitting on servers or PC hard drives within a company’s offices. One in four respondents plan to move to cloud based services or applications within two years, with around half (47%) expected to do so within five years.

But, whilst respondents were quick to point out the business benefits of cloud computing, including cost savings (35.2%) and increased remote and flexible working (34%), few said they had planned to re-evaluate their Internet connectivity.

Just one in ten said they had a formal strategy that included consideration of Internet connectivity issues. Only 12% said they planned on increasing their Internet bandwidth to account for possible higher traffic levels, 13% said they would explore business continuity measures to safeguard their connection and only 9.2% said that they would put in place more stringent security measures.

Chris Stening, MD of Easynet Connect commented: “Clearly, SMBs are eager to embrace the many advantages that cloud computing and SaaS offers them, but they need to think about the big picture as well. Once the majority of your mission-critical applications are hosted over the web, ensuring you have the most secure and available Internet access possible becomes even more important. This should be prioritised just as highly as the staff training or cultural issues when formal switch over plans are developed.”

Stening argued that the additional investment in improved Internet Connectivity would be far less than the savings made by a switch to cloud computing: “Companies can save thousands of pounds by moving to more cost-effective licensing models that cloud computing opens up. They can also reduce costs through remote working and even create new value from more collaborative ways of working. For most companies, the investment of upgrading Internet connectivity to support all of this is a fraction of these cost savings.”