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Why Local Businesses Should Move to the Cloud?

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Anywhere, Everywhere

Your data is with you – no matter where you are.

Take Google Docs as an example, if you’re not able to go to your office and you have to work on a document – all you need to do is login to your corporate Google Apps service, select the file and click ‘Share’ to start real-time collaboration on that document without considering the geographical boundaries you’re in.

It is possible for organizations to get their data, that’s essential for running their businesses, anytime, anywhere.

Time/Resource Saving

How much time does it take to setup a mail server for your organization on your custom domain? Am not into web servers, web development or the likes to be straight forward but once I thought of having an email address ending with MyFavDomainName.com, I bought that domain name and 15 minutes later I had 50 email accounts (powered by Gmail or 50 available users accounts powered by Google Apps) for my own pleasure, including other services like Google Docs, Tasks, Calendar, Sites etc. for productivity and collaboration between those users.

No need for a large IT Department to handle your tasks anymore. Plus you get access to a setup/infrastructure that only large organizations can afford.

No Maintenance/Updates

Your services are not hosted on a server inside your office building or in the IT Department. They are hosted for you by someone else’s IT department, somewhere else in the world. They are responsible for the maintenance of the servers, software and updates. It frees you from these tasks altogether so you can focus more on your direct business needs.

Another thing is that as soon as updates are available they are installed/provided to your users instantly. Or by your permission which is not more than clicking a Yes. Take this as an example, Google emailed me that few new services are available for Google Apps users do you want to enable them for your users? I logged in as Admin, selected the services I wanted to enable and clicked done, that’s it.

Uptime

Forget about electricity outages, power surges destroying your equipment, high energy costs or UPS systems for your services to be available. Most of the Cloud services offer 99.95% uptime, which is more than enough for most of the businesses here. Let me quote a couple of statements from the article “How to Choose Best Web Host for you?”

“…The day Salman Taseer got killed, due to huge traffic Geo, Jang and Dawn websites went down but Express Tribune didn’t. Reason: Geo, Jang and Dawn are hosted on dedicated servers which couldn’t hold the traffic spike, while Express Tribune is powered by Amazon’s EC2 cloud.”

Security

You are not their only customer and they know that their reputation online and consecutively business success depends upon their security. The cloud services offer far better security than an average business here can afford to.

How much does it cost to hire a Pro to manage your sites/server security? For small business with 40-50 users, the salary of an IT Security Professional can easily eat their IT Department budget alone. If you hire an ‘average joe’, this happens:

  • 130 Pakistani Websites Got Hacked,
  • 40 Sensitive Government Websites got Hacked,
  • This Time PID’s Website Got Hacked,
  • PML-N Gets Hacked!
  • And so on…

Price Comparison:

This option is highly dependent on your needs. For small businesses or lower needs, it is very much cost saving. You increase the number of users or services and the costs go too high. Google Apps now offers 10 free users in the basic version; more users mean $50 per user, per year ($4.16/month), for 100 users that will cost around 35,000/month. What you get is: Gmail, Calendar, Docs, Groups, Sites, and Video etc.

Microsoft Office 365 for Small business offers $6/user/month for 50 users that translates to ~25,000/month. Far less than the salary of your System Admin alone and what you get is this: 25GB mailbox, Office Web Apps (for document editing/viewing), Exchange Online, Spam filtering, Antivirus, Sharepoint Online, Desktop Sharing, Audio/Video Calls etc.

Mid-Size businesses can go for the $16 per user/month option if they want Office Web Apps, otherwise there is a $10 option too. For basic email services it can go to as low as $4 per user.

Moving to the cloud is a good decision for Small to Medium businesses in Pakistan that have not very much customized needs and need flexibility. If you’re a large organization with highly customized needs and solutions than you should better be with your current solution. But then again the state of Wyoming that has 10,000 workers is moving to Google Apps.

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