Busting the myths: Three misconceptions deterring cloud adoption amongst UK SMEs

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Cloud technology has fundamentally altered the way people do business. For small and medium-sized firms in particular, it delivers sustainable, competitive edge. By presenting firms with the means to work smarter and quickly capitalise on opportunities, cloud and mobile technologies help to eliminate inefficiencies, facilitate flexibility, and ensures SMEs are as agile and productive as possible.

Data protection and security – fundamental elements of any business model – are key drivers for businesses turning to the cloud, along with vital cost considerations. Cloud tools grant smaller companies access to enterprise-level technology that would be otherwise inaccessible without substantial investment. What’s more, by using a cloud solutions provider, maintenance costs are reduced and cloud use can be scaled up or down as the business needs dictate.

Despite these advantages, some firms remain hesitant to integrate cloud technology into their organisation. But why? Here are some of the most common concerns hindering cloud adoption amongst UK businesses:

The cloud is not secure

The mistaken belief the cloud is insecure remains the major obstacle preventing UK organisations from adopting cloud-based services. A Cloud Industry Forum survey highlighted that 61 per cent of small and medium-sized business in the UK cite data privacy concerns as the key reason preventing certain applications from being migrated. A further 70 per cent cite security as the primary contributing factor - despite the fact that over 99 per cent of those using cloud services have never experienced a security breach. Indeed, the most common causes of a cyber-attack are inadequate firewalls, data leakage and unsecured Wi-Fi connections - all issues that are more prevalent amongst businesses not using the cloud.

To keep fear at bay and safeguard confidential information, cloud technology should be embraced. Business data is now accessible off any device and from any location with an internet or Wi-Fi connection. If devices are lost or stolen, access to the server can be removed and passwords changed so vital information does not fall into the wrong hands. Moreover, as this data is saved in the cloud, it remains with the company, instead of being lost as a result of being saved only locally on a given device.

SMEs should consider using a cloud solution provider to help them understand the options. With state-of-the-art, dedicated facilities, cloud providers offer security levels which far exceed those that could ever be achieved by many small businesses within their existing IT budgets. As well as offering a variety of security software and services, cloud service providers are increasingly obtaining advanced security certifications to help alleviate customers’ safety woes. In fact, demonstrating security credentials and sharing information about third-party audits is now as important to businesses as the channel company's ability to provide the tools needed to manage their data in the cloud.

The best option for SMEs is to look for a provider that offers the best services and security to meet their needs and price point. As providers increasingly demonstrate their expertise in the security field, this will dispel the concerns and boost cloud adoption in the process.

Migrating to the cloud is complex

Many businesses refrain from migrating their IT infrastructure to the cloud due to the worry that it is time-consuming and will lead to downtime or data loss. Cloud migration is not complex. According to CIF’s latest research, less than 40 per cent of small and medium-sized businesses using cloud solutions found the process difficult. In fact, the vast majority (99%) were satisfied with their chosen method of migration. When it comes to downtime, this should be zero, as the migration will take place behind the curtain whilst existing systems and services continue to run. Once everything is synchronised, the switch is done.

Nevertheless, if concerns over complexity are hindering cloud adoption, a managed IT services provider can help to ease the migration process by delivering against a plan. In this respect, more work can still be done to encourage cloud adoption and qualm any fears associated with a complex migration process. Channel partners must act as a trusted advisor for small businesses. Firms should use a provider who is sensitive to their individual requirements, provides quality of assistance and tailors their service to the level of support needed for successful cloud adoption.

The cloud is costly

The up-front expense of migrating to the cloud is often prohibitive, particularly for start-ups or small businesses with limited budget at their disposal. Yet, many firms overestimate the real costs incurred by a migration and fail to consider the long term advantages.

As it stands, only 56 per cent of UK businesses cite operational savings as the key driver in the decision to turn to the cloud (CIF). This approach must become mainstream. By adopting a forward thinking strategy, business owners will recognise the operational savings that will emerge once the migration is complete - savings which will ultimately offset the initial investment and boost the business’s bottom line.

Ultimately, costs will vary according to the individual needs of each business. By consulting a trusted cloud or third party provider, firms can assess their needs from the word go. This will also help to ensure that further down the line they don’t fall victim to any unexpected costs from failing to quantify all the necessary services in the initial calculations. Moreover, most cloud providers will have solutions in place to keep the migration costs minimal.

With a better understanding of the cloud, SMEs can adapt their current strategy and allow the benefits it offers to liberate their business. For those who don’t know the way forward it’s important to take the next step hand in hand with an advisor who can make the process clear.

Can you think of other misconceptions deterring cloud adoption? Let us know in the comments.

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