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Small businesses seek to take off with the cloud

Sharon Gaudin | Aug. 22, 2014
Cloud computing isn't just for the enterprise; it's likely to bring big changes to small businesses too, survey finds

However, she said that warning employees to be cautious is a small price to pay for the benefits of cloud computing.

"I think there are more benefits than risks," Suriano said.

King predicts that Suriano's attitude toward cloud computing should quickly spread to other small business owners.

"The big shift to the cloud is going to give them efficiency - cheaper, faster and easier access to tools and applications," he said. "If you're a small business, you could have a customer relationship management system on your own server but that needs to be installed, maintained and supported. If you do that in the cloud, all of that work goes away so it becomes cheaper and easier to manage and install."

That means small companies will have a better chance to take on not only other small competitors but larger businesses as well.

King noted that a small, boutique pharmaceutical company could, for instance, compete with some of the biggest companies in the field because of access that employees would have to resources like cloud-based computer arrays and lab simulation systems.

"Looking at startups and the one- and two-man shops, the cloud is a godsend because then they don't have to invest in buying servers and getting that IT infrastructure in place to launch or run their business," said Jagdish Rebello, an analyst at IHS iSuppli. "They can host all of that on the cloud and put their focus on their business and not on IT."

Rebello also predicts that small businesses quickly will be moving beyond Gmail and onto bigger cloud-based applications.

"They're already starting to move a lot of their own applications and services to the cloud," he added. "They're looking to Google Docs and essentially moving as much as they can to the cloud. It will make smaller businesses more nimble and efficient. I think you'll see businesses change the way they operate."

Jeff Kagan, an independent analyst, said small companies like Kebroak BBQ are smart to start moving to the cloud now.

"Any time a small business is innovative and does something before their competitors do, they get a big advantage," he noted. "Then later on, it becomes an issue that if you don't do it, you're suddenly behind."


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