JUST because the cloud can open up your business, doesn’t mean it will turn your business into an open house.

Being on the cloud broadens horizons, all the while better shielding your business operations from any infiltrations.

It protects all data and documents with enterprise-grade security, flexible permissions and powerful IT controls.

According to Boston Consulting Group, most leading businesses are already on the cloud, with surveyed SME owners saying it has become key to how their company competes against larger companies.

If the biggest corporations in the world feel secure in the cloud, and it offers a ‘pay as you go’ storage package, what’s stopping all SMEs from joining them?

Privacy, security and time costs are arguably the biggest concerns.

From her experiences dealing with clients across her outsourcing and marketing businesses, like Boston Consulting Group, Aimee Engelmann has reached the conclusion that “the most innovative businesses are already using cloud technologies”.

However, she is quick to add that some of those who aren’t seem to be stagnating because of security concerns. 

“There were privacy and security concerns when cloud technologies were first launched,” says Engelmann.

“But there’s no reason these should still be prevailing.”

Engelmann notes that in her eight years of experience across multiple cloud providers she is yet to encounter any privacy or security issues.

“You just have to ensure you have great internet speed when working in the cloud and the right IT infrastructure in place to secure your personal information, which are both practically across-the-board now.”

Bluewire Media CEO and cofounder Toby Jenkins (pictured right) is of a similar mindset.

“We’ve never had any security problems with the cloud, and while I’m not an expert on security, my understanding is that it’s only as good as the people operating it anyway.”

Jenkins manages a team of seven from a Brisbane-based office, which is exposed globally through the cloud.

He services clients Australia-wide and has taken to having staff in locations as diverse as Mexico and San Francisco for his small operation, secure in the knowledge that the cloud can’t be penetrated no matter how far it travels.

“Attracting and retaining top talent would have to be the biggest benefit of being on the cloud, case in point one of our graphic designers whose talent we couldn’t part with contracted for us when she went back home to Mexico,” says Jenkins.

He knows the fear of the migration period to the cloud all too well, but this comes attached with a cautionary tale.

“I initially hesitated about moving Bluewire to the cloud because the status quo was working and I thought it would be a painful migration process,” says Jenkins, understanding that time is often an SMEs best – and sometimes only – means to compete with larger companies.

Not too long after Jenkins began considering moving to the cloud, his business was struck by disaster, putting the issue of time lag into perspective.

“Then the 2011 Brisbane floods happened – our server switched off – and we couldn’t even maintain basic email communication for days.”

“Following that event, we gradually migrated our operations to the cloud and surprisingly, or not, found the transition across reasonably smooth.

“Unfortunately, it took a disaster for us to really recognise the silver lining in the cloud.”

For small businesses, technology can make the difference in driving your company ahead and setting you apart from your competition. But the challenge is ‘how do you get there’? Microsoft can help make the benefits of modern technology a reality for your business. Visit our small business page to learn more.

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