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How good is cloud computing for small businesses?

How good is cloud computing for small businesses?

Small businesses have a lot to gain from cloud computing because it means that resource levels that were previously very expensive are now within the budgets and provides them with an opportunity to use the cloud to drive their online expansion. Web hosting companies often design their cloud hosting services with small businesses being the intended target market, which is why pay-per-use cost models are offered for the consumption of cloud resources in an environment that hosts virtual machines (VMs). Prior to the inception of cloud computing, small businesses had to rely on virtual private servers (VPS) if they required a dedicated hosting environment or a shared hosting plan if they had budget constraints. Neither VPS nor shared web hosting could match the uptime aspirations of small businesses with comparatively small budgets. Cloud hosting matches the uptime aspirations of small businesses by guaranteeing an average rate of 99.9%, whilst budget constraints are removed because small businesses can create VMs that suit their budgets.

Budgeting

Whether a small business is established or a start-up, it’s likely to have low pools of capital and may not even be making a profit yet. Due to this, a small business is going to have a small budget for its hosting services and in some circumstances the survival of the business could be pinned on sticking to budgets.

With all cloud resources being flexible, you have full control over the resources that are assigned to your cloud VMs and therefore the amount that you are going to be spending on your hosting service. Unit prices can vary between hosting companies, but broadly speaking it shouldn’t be impossible to seek a hosting company that can offer you a cloud VM with the resources that you require within your budget. Some hosting companies also offer auto-scaling technology that can allocate additional resources to your VMs when they are running low on resources to prevent them from crashing; however, you should still have full control over the level of expenditure generated using such methods.

Improving Uptime

For any small business working to establish itself with a legitimate reputation, having a reliable online presence is important when looking to achieve this. If a business attracts most of its customers online then website downtime can lead to lost revenues and where a business is primarily based online, these losses can be incredibly significant because web sales could potentially represent their only source of revenues.

Cloud computing looks to benefit small businesses by providing a platform that can guarantee an average of 99% uptime each month, but unless there is a serious issue with the cloud then most months this figure should be 100%. Such a high level of uptime means that a business’s website will always be accessible by customers, maximising every available to opportunity to receive an income from the website. VMs hosted in a cloud environment are distributed across an array of servers so that if one of these servers does malfunction, the resources for your VMs can be allocated from another server so that performance is never hindered.

High Security

The cloud looks to benefit small businesses by providing high security hosting solutions with which businesses can invest their confidence as well as their money. No matter how big a business is, it will always be handling sensitive information whether that be information about itself or customer details; because of this there will always be an inherent need to provide secure hosting solutions because it could have a detrimental impact on the business if this information were to be leaked publicly.

All information in the cloud is encrypted and where it is being passed between servers is communicated internally only. External access to the cloud only occurs when someone is requesting a service on your cloud VMs such as a web page or SSH access. This level of privacy means that it will be incredibly hard for hackers to access the core of the cloud and even if a VM is compromised, damage can be limited by suspending the operation of the VM immediately. Multiple physical security features such as hardware firewalls are often in place to meet this objective, whilst larger hosting companies will have 24×7 support teams responsible for monitoring internal networks.

Based on the aspects of high security, budgeting and uptime, cloud computing represents an ideal solution for small businesses. For the first time a small business is able to access a hosting platform that can provide them with appropriate resources without breaking the bank.

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