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Why Small Businesses Should Start Trusting the Cloud (Reasons to Convince Your Boss)

John Fakhoury

For small businesses, effectively managing technology comes with a question: Is it better to outsource or stay in-house? Most small and midsize companies can't afford to employ teams of full-time IT staffers. This creates a desire for outsourced solutions. However, opting for a third party means giving up a measure of control. What is best for your business?

In this post, we offer a quick rundown of the top five tasks any small business should consider outsourcing:

The Cloud

According to MarketWatch, while 64 percent of business owners are aware of the Cloud, 57 percent of owners don't use Cloud computing. Why? In large measure because they're concerned about security and control. Although it's possible to build a private Cloud and keep operations entirely in-house, this is prohibitively expensive for small businesses. Instead, it's worth taking a good look at public Cloud adoption; with the right provider, this IT outsourcing can be just as, or even more, secure than local stacks. What's more, "going Cloud" means significantly less capital expenditure in exchange for consistent month-to-month operating costs.

Storage

In the age of big data, even small businesses are dealing with mountains of information they can't possibly process all at once. Suddenly, local storage is a problem, and many companies are now looking for ways to supplement their storage environments. This leaves you with a few choices:

  • Add more racks to an existing data center
  • Build a new facility or consider colocation, or even opt for "cold storage" of files you don't need on a regular basis.

As noted by Business News Daily, it is possible to outsource entirely infrastructure tasks to a third-party provider, giving your data a secure home without bogging down local servers or requiring large technology personnel to keep up.

Customer-Facing Software

Customer relationship management (CRM) software has come a long way in the last five years. While it's possible to custom build your own CRM from the ground up in-house or by hiring a developer, this may yield a break-even scenario rather than delivering ROI, especially as your business requires upgrades and expansion. Outsourcing CRM, meanwhile, lets you tap software tools that serve front-line employees. C-suite executives and customers equally, provide the ideal blend of historical, relevant and actionable data at each stage of the purchasing funnel. What's more, new solutions based in the Cloud can be custom designed for a fraction of the cost of legacy systems.

Security

When it comes to security, many small businesses aggressively guard their IT. Often, security is the final piece of technology kept in-house because it offers a measure of "control." However, as noted by Health Data Management, existing processes and legacy systems often create a fragmented security landscape with no formal oversight; effectively giving the illusion of security without conferring any actual protection. Security-as-a-service alternatives, meanwhile, can be tailor-made to address your needs, protect your assets and keep you fully informed.

Telephone Support

Despite the rise of Cloud-enabled and social media technologies, telephone systems remain a key component of any business communication strategy. Many companies now run more than one telephone network or have their telephone network meshed in with their data and networking infrastructure — for example, your business may need a combination of traditional telephony, voice over IP (VoIP) and unified communications (UC) — and each of these systems requires a unique set of skills to effectively manage. Outsourcing to a hosted PBX solution lets your business focus on making calls rather than troubleshooting quality or service (QoS) or connection issues; the right vendor will not only report outages but liaise with your Internet service provider (ISP) to escalate and resolve issues, in addition to providing a host of on-demand features.

Not all IT tasks need to stay in-house. Small businesses can benefit from outsourcing everything from the Cloud to storage, CRM software, security and even social media, giving local IT time to innovate rather than remediate.

By John Fakhoury, CEO of Framework Communications
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