A Detailed Look at Cloud Services for the SMB
Cloud services continue to be a significant innovation in the world of business IT. First embraced at the enterprise level, they allowed large companies to save money and gain operational efficiencies by replacing some or all of their on-premise data centers with Cloud based offerings. The small to medium sized business (SMB) is now able to leverage some of these same advantages, as well as features like secure data backups and convenient mobile access to company documents and applications.
For the SMB looking at implementing Cloud services for their organization, what are some of the important technology factors to consider? Is it merely a question of choosing a service provider and hitting the Cloud? In actuality, it is probably wise to understand some of the technical components of a Cloud service before making a final decision.
For a Cloud service, CPU denotes the number of processors dedicated to a business account’s service. This is really no different from the specifications of a desktop computer, smartphone or tablet — more CPUs are better! When comparing providers understand that more CPUs means faster response time when accessing documents in the Cloud or performing a task on a Software as a Service (SaaS) delivered application.
Most Cloud-based services targeted for the SMB offer a range from at least one CPU (which would only be useful for a one to two person company) all the way to a 15-30 CPU range. Consider the size of the company and the type of Cloud usage when deciding on the number of CPUs. Smaller firms primarily using backup services with little SaaS activity can get away with less.
Along with CPU power, a computer’s RAM affects its overall processing speed more than any other factor, and Cloud-based services are really no different. This is another case of more RAM meaning better response time and performance. Cloud providers generally offer anywhere from 512 MB up to 64 GB of RAM with their services.
The same usage considerations apply as the CPU. Smaller firms not doing much beyond data backup can get away with less RAM. Larger companies doing a lot of Cloud-based processing activity should go with more.
The amount of hard drive storage to get when deciding on a Cloud service plan depends on multiple factors. Of course, the number of employees is significant, but the type of files to be stored also play a large role. Large legal firms storing loads of text documents might need less space than a small video production company backing up huge video files.
Cloud providers generally offer anywhere from around 20 GB up to 3 TB of storage as part of an initial service plan. Most will also scale the storage as needed.
A SMB looking to implement Cloud services can expect to pay anywhere from around $20 per month up to $150 per month depending on the service level. When comparing that monthly cost against running an internal data center, it is obvious why Cloud-based services are popular with businesses of all sizes. Significant cost savings are possible all while increasing productivity both in and out of the office.
Remember, pricing a Cloud service offering is in many ways similar to shopping for a computer. CPU power, RAM, and hard drive space all play a significant role in determining the overall “bang for the buck.” Additionally, it is important to take stock of the planned Cloud usage patterns as well as the business’s growth prospects. Thankfully, easy scalability is another feature provided by Cloud service providers.
To help you find the right Cloud provider for you, check out the BusinessBee BuzzGrid and savings calculator.