Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Forget the Fiscal Cliff: Here’s Why The Cloud Can Secure Your 2013 IT Upgrade

Who’s afraid of the Fiscal Cliff?

You shouldn’t be, especially if you head up IT for your company and targeting 2013 as the year to upgrade. You can still get that newer IT system now, courtesy of the Cloud.

Costs and Comprehension

Sure, there’s economic nervousness, as there is equally unfounded fear of the Cloud. Misinformation about its efficacy is keeping many businesses from understanding its positive value proposition.

A recent survey of small to medium-sized businesses here in the USA and in the U.K found a majority of business owners were unsure of Cloud services – just a quarter of SMBs had adopted some form of Cloud services – while a slightly smaller proportion thought Cloud services were only for large companies.

Among “other factors cited were cost (23% UK/21% US); lack of trust (17% UK/18% U.S.); and the belief the services are too complicated (nearly 10% in both the UK and U.S.)”.  Startlingly, almost one-in-three SMBs (31% in the UK and 28% in the U.S.) said they did not understand Cloud services at all.

The disconnect among the survey respondents between how they use the Cloud for their personal business versus their business business is rather shocking.  There is an over abundance of information about the Cloud generally, with Cloud-based consumer applications, and literally hundreds of stories by IT business publications, both online and off.

How long have these SMB owners been using their personal credit cards to buy from iTunes, EBay or Amazon? Do they do their banking online? They use – and trust – the Cloud constantly.

Companies like Microsoft, Apple, IBM, etc. have enormous amounts of money, people and research poured into the development of their formidable Cloud offerings that take the issues of security, outages, scalability, ease of use and manageability far more seriously than any SMB business could. They are the backbone for thousands of organizations that have already moved to the Cloud. Their brands and reputations are in the public view for all to see 24/7, 365 days a year. 

The Real Reason
Probably the real conclusion about Cloud skittishness centers around that SMBs, because of the soft economy and pending fiscal cliff, are regrettably in lock down mode and tuned out to any incoming messages about promising IT alternatives such as the Cloud, regardless of the value proposition.

It’s also a matter of working with what’s been the new normal since the economic meltdown in 2008. Many SMBs took on complex technology decisions without the benefit of an IT department or outside expertise to guide them. Not that the resources weren’t there to be tapped. VARS who service the SMB market are in fact quite educated on the Cloud alternative and are talking to their customers about Cloud value prop.

Until the economy moves toward an annual 3% to 4% GPD growth rate, the “build it yourself” mentality is what SMBs know how to do because that is what they have been doing for years. But the perception of the Cloud as an unnecessary risk is, well, unnecessary.

The Cloud is a better use of limited capital and looks to avail companies to expand their functionality without having to finance a significant upfront capitalization. Instead, they invest by paying a fractional amount of money over in a managed, predictable outlay without the need for upfront borrowing.

There is an IT path that many companies can confidently take. It’s just a matter of taking a leap based on knowledge, not fear.