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If cloud services can deliver such remarkable improvements, why are SMBs holding back?

In a recent post, titled "10 Surprising Facts About Cloud Computing and What It Really Is", Zac Johnson highlighted some interesting facts about cloud computing in the SMB marketplace:

  • Cloud Computing is up to 40 times more cost-effective for an SMB, compared to running its own IT system.
  • 94% of SMBs have experienced security benefits in the cloud that they didn't have with their on-premises service
  • Recovery times for SMB are four times faster for businesses using cloud computing when compared to those not utilizing cloud services.
  • For SMB, energy use and carbon emissions could be cut by 90% by using cloud computing, saving the environment and energy costs.

These advantages show a strong indication that SMB information technology should be dominated by the adoption of cloud computing services.  Although one of the most prominent of these cloud services is Microsoft's Office 365 (O365), a recent survey cited by CIO.com suggests that 83% of U.S. small and medium businesses (SMBs) have yet to use any form of O365. If cloud services can deliver such remarkable improvements, why are SMBs holding back?

According to the survey, part of the reason is that SMBs often lack the required internal resources needed to analyze the cloud migration opportunity.  This type of analysis often requires the testing of multiple cloud-based business and productivity services as well as more focused attention on data protection capabilities. Many SMB executives see cloud computing as nothing but marketing hype and are more focused on running their businesses.  Cloud services may also be perceived as being very confusing, technically overwhelming, and even frightening.  Another key technical challenge is dealing with a more sophisticated networking environment that may require virtual private network (VPN) management and remote infrastructure access.

The networking challenge is further exacerbated by the requirement to support a distributed mobile workforce with secure mobile device access to company network resources.  Netgear is making an impressive bid to address this challenge by their recent release of a new line of small business switches, access points, and NAS devices equipped for native cloud management via a new mobile application.  The app, called Insight, is designed to let administrators or unskilled end users discover and configure multiple wired and wireless network devices.  The users can then monitor and manage these network resources remotely through an intuitive touchscreen interface.  Insight is designed to fill a critical gap in the networking market for simple SMB solutions that provide robust functionality.

Switching from software or CPU license-based pricing to the subscription-based utilization models offered by cloud service providers can also require an SMB to conduct a careful economic analysis of the change.  This change can potentially divert finance and IT staff from their core jobs. The reality is that most cloud services aren't designed for SMB consumption.  Small businesses are therefore likely postponing cloud migration because they don't know where to start or don't possess the internal resources to manage through the transition.

This small business industry challenge is bound to become harder. According to International Data Corporation (IDC), the small and medium business spending on IT hardware, software, and services, including business services,  is expected to increase at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 4.2%, reaching $668 billion in 2020.

As SMB cloud adoption grows, the need for more cloud transition support for the SMB marketplace will also continue to grow.  As a historically underserved market, more SMB tailored cloud services and cloud adoption support are desperately needed.  Unfortunately, the SMB market is typically seen as an afterthought by enterprise vendors, and small business solutions are designed as dumbed down versions of the enterprise solutions, let's hope that more companies like Netgear will wake up and serve this clear and growing SMB marketplace need.

(This content is being syndicated through multiple channels. The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not represent the views of GovCloud Network, GovCloud Network Partners or any other corporation or organization.)

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Kevin Jackson, founder of the GovCloud Network, is an independent technology and business consultant specializing in mission critical solutions. He has served in various senior management positions including VP & GM Cloud Services NJVC, Worldwide Sales Executive for IBM and VP Program Management Office at JP Morgan Chase. His formal education includes MSEE (Computer Engineering), MA National Security & Strategic Studies and a BS Aerospace Engineering. Jackson graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 1979 and retired from the US Navy earning specialties in Space Systems Engineering, Airborne Logistics and Airborne Command and Control. He also served with the National Reconnaissance Office, Operational Support Office, providing tactical support to Navy and Marine Corps forces worldwide. Kevin is the founder and author of “Cloud Musings”, a widely followed blog that focuses on the use of cloud computing by the Federal government. He is also the editor and founder of “Government Cloud Computing” electronic magazine, published at Ulitzer.com. To set up an appointment CLICK HERE

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