Cloud computing helps SMEs compete

Adopting cloud computing can help smaller businesses compete with larger organizations according to communications and data center specialist Node4. However, many have yet to embrace the full potential of the cloud despite the fact that it can give them a competitive edge.

Node4 says that making the switch from using a capital expenditure model to a pay-as-you-go operational expenditure plan opens up opportunities to use enterprise grade IT without the hassle of maintenance.

Paul Bryce, Business Development Director at Node4, says, "The benefits of cloud computing are extensive and, for the first time ever, businesses are able to compete on a level playing field. We have taken infrastructure technology from tier-one vendors like VMWare, Cisco and EMC and offered it on a shared public cloud platform for the mid market SME customer".

"Cloud infrastructures are very efficient and cost effective for customers to move all or some of their workload across to an outsourcing partner to take advantage of all of the benefits. The service can be aimed at new and start up businesses without the infrastructure or capital to get going but not everyone is aware of these benefits", adds Bryce.

Many SMEs use a cloud email solution as a starting point. Others have used the cloud to set up document sharing for those inside and outside the company, in a similar way to Dropbox. Node4 has seen an increase in the use of corporate file sharing with security and service level agreements included.

Bryce adds that growing companies can benefit from cloud computing. "We get customers coming to us saying they keep having to buy new equipment because they are constantly outgrowing it, or it's out of its warranty. Some companies are having headaches with maintaining their infrastructure, servers and storage and this is taking their focus away from delivering value to the business with the applications that are on that infrastructure". He says, "With an on-demand infrastructure you can start with what you need today without worrying about tomorrow or the day after because the cloud can scale with you as and when needed".

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