More and more small businesses are looking to the cloud rather than relying on on-premise software for their storage and security needs. In fact, 53% of small and medium-sized businesses report spending at least $1.2 million on the cloud in 2021, up from 38% in 2020.
In the past, misconceptions about the financial and labor investments required for the cloud deterred small businesses from pursuing cloud adoption. But now it’s clear that small businesses are prioritizing cloud ROI over upfront commitments.
Most of us know that the cloud enables more efficient remote collaboration and faster application deployment. However, these benefits aren’t automatic — to achieve them, SMBs need a migration plan that ultimately reduces money, improves company-wide security, and drives long-term growth.
The cloud frees up much-needed bandwidth for overloaded IT teams
Small business leaders rarely feel like they have the time, money, or staffing they need to succeed — and this struggle extends to IT responsibilities. Many small businesses’ IT teams have a long list of responsibilities to manage: installing firewall protections, implementing user access control, performing regular security audits, maintaining regular data backups, and more.
IT workloads increase as your organization grows, which means you’ll likely have to increase IT budgets and staffing. But if you only invest in IT to meet maintenance needs, you prevent the department from solving more complex organizational problems.
A more forward-thinking approach offers better ROI by freeing up IT’s team to innovate. Organizations that make in innovation typically fare better with investors and grow their bottom lines. And prioritizing long-term growth doesn’t require short-term sacrifices. Solutions in the cloud can help IT teams reallocate time previously spent on maintenance to more meaningful work.
3 long-term benefits after moving to the cloud
Cloud solutions can provide real value and opportunities for small businesses. But your choice of technology partner when moving to the cloud may be just as important as the decision to move to the cloud in the first place. Your tech partner should have a proven track record of helping small businesses in your industry navigate the implementation process and expand their cloud usage over time. This partner should also provide peace of mind that your data is safe by demonstrating their ability to keep pace with a rapidly changing security environment.
By working with a partner that aligns with your industry and organizational goals, you can achieve several long-term benefits:
1. Better security and disaster recovery
Small businesses have to manage more sensitive data and monitor increasingly complex compliance requirements as they grow. Handling this alone is tricky for IT teams, but the right cloud solution can provide greater visibility to security and help your business respond faster to unexpected data breaches or malfunctions.
Traditional IT disaster recovery consists of storing backup data at an onsite and offsite location, but 21% of small businesses don’t have reliable offline backups. As organizations pivot to remote work environments, the ability to keep data secure across multiple locations becomes more important. Cloud solutions can provide peace of mind that your data will be safe when disaster strikes.
When a cyberattack or power failure occurs, cloud backups help reduce the time and cost to get operations back up and running. Cloud providers that offer continuous support and training to IT staff and other employees can even help mitigate the risk of a disaster before it occurs.
2. An edge over competitors
Moving to the cloud can help small businesses win more government contracts. For example, the Defense Contract Audit Agency (DCAA) asks government contractors to invest in hosted or SaaS solutions. When handling sensitive data, federal agencies like the DCAA are more comfortable moving data through the cloud than through a small business’ more vulnerable communication channels, giving an edge to companies in the cloud.
The cloud also offers a competitive advantage through its superior collaboration and scaling capabilities. Employees across different time zones can have access to relevant files, work together on projects in real time and set custom permission settings. When it’s time to expand the size of your team, centralized collaboration helps new employees get up to speed faster. This flexibility also drives more efficient workflows and makes it easier to work with new business partners.
3. Ability to allocate resources elsewhere
Depending on the size of your business, your IT professionals may have to wear multiple hats in the organization — assisting with employee onboarding, running a help desk, and implementing new software rollouts. A cloud solution enables your team to automate some of their IT responsibilities so they can focus on more meaningful tasks.
For example, IT can place a greater emphasis on application development, sales, and training — activities that drive innovation and aren’t reserved for day-to-day maintenance. The cloud also makes it easier for IT to align with the C-suite on initiatives that drive revenue.
The cloud turns short-term fixes into long-term success
The day-to-day challenges of managing a small business can push leaders to prioritize immediate, short-term fixes over long-term, sustainable solutions like moving to the cloud. But the efficiency and scalability the cloud provides offers small business leaders a solution that will help both now and down the line. A trusted technology partner can help optimize cybersecurity practices and make your cloud integrations smoother, ultimately freeing up bandwidth for your IT team.
Margo Martin is the Group VP of Customer Success at Deltek.