Experts opine that cloud technology has the potential to bridge the gap between a small and a large enterprise. For start-ups and SMBs, cloud computing can make life far easier for IT admins, as well as improve the bottomline!
According to Gartner’s analysis, cloud computing has the potential to change IT in a big way. Gartner analysts opine, “It may end up removing the last vestiges of the captive IT organisation that owns its enterprise, as surely as the enterprise owns IT. It’s not just enterprises and SMEs that are leveraging cloud technology; start-ups are not far behind. India, a country at par with many of the majors with respect to entrepreneurship, is seeing a spike in this trend. Start-ups are taking that extra step of getting on to the cloud and making the most of this phenomenon.
Why do start-ups need the cloud?
The cost of IT infrastructure consumes a good share of the budget of any organisation. Start-ups that are already short of funds in the initial stages feel the heat of expensive IT infrastructure. So, if a solution can cater to almost all their IT needs at a lower cost and with fewer worries, they go for it. The cloud is the answer for them. Yet, despite the fact that the cloud is a must-adopt trend currently, companies are taking their time in giving away direct control of their IT infrastructure to someone else.
Explaining the need for cloud computing in a start-up set-up, Rajesh Shetty, vice president, Cisco India and SAARC, says, “Cloud computing is the most reliable and scalable platform for a start-up as well as for an SMB, because it can fit itself perfectly, as per their requirements. Start-ups or SMBs, unlike large organisations, do not have a big IT team; nor do they have all the required resources in terms of infrastructure or budgets. So, the cloud is a solution that they can resort to, as they would get a very scalable and reliable global infrastructure, which is easy to use and cost-effective from the ROI perspective.”
With cloud computing, start-ups do not have to worry about creating their own IT infrastructure or employing manpower to manage it. They can simply get it done by the cloud service providers. Reiterating what Shetty said, Ajit Gadge, manager, Sales Engineering, and database solutions architect for India, South-East Asia, Australia and New Zealand, EnterpriseDB, said, “The cloud can deliver a reliable global infrastructure to a small organisation at an affordable price. Small organisations across India are looking forward to the cloud and I think the Indian market is a perfect place to have cloud computing in place. From the business owner’s point of view, the adoption of cloud computing may not be an easy and quick decision to make as one would have to totally rely on some third party and its IT infrastructure, but once the entire picture is made clear, the industry would soon start adopting cloud computing.”
It is not about just the cost of the equipment, at the end of the day. It is about the total infrastructure costs. Shetty adds, “If you want to set up a data centre, the equipment would take about 20 to 25 per cent of the overall cost of the data centre, but the other associated IT resources like power, back-up and cooling require more investments. One would need trained manpower to manage the entire set up as well. So, the story doesn’t end with the initial investment of the equipment cost. It’s the life cycle cost that matters.”
Some of the advantages that cloud solutions offer a start-up are listed below.
Low cost: The cloud will always win over physical storage drives when it comes to money. For a start-up, the cloud can help reduce the IT budget significantly. Owning and maintaining physical storage requires more IT spending, and creating data backups can also make a huge dent in IT budgets.
Easy access: The cloud ensures hassle-free access to stored data. From a start-up or SMB’s point of view, maintaining a separate IT team to maintain data will be unaffordable. Also, for non-technical small business owners, the cloud can ensure reliable access to data.
Scalability: The cloud provides the advantage of scalability. A business can scale up or down on the cloud infrastructure, as per its requirement. The scalability can happen within no time and without much investment.
Automation: With cloud computing, IT admins of start-ups need not worry about maintaining applications. One doesn’t need to invest in a team to keep the file storage system updated, as most of the applications that run on the cloud are capable of getting updated automatically.
The cloud bridges the gap between start-ups and enterprises
V Ramachandran, country manager, Converged Infrastructure & Cloud Solutions, Cloud Systems, HP India, says, “Cloud technology has the potential to bridge the gap between a small and a large enterprise. With the cloud, small organisations can benefit from the services of world class IT infrastructure. The cloud is slowly spreading its wings across the horizon, as it offers a tremendous amount of reach. Even government departments are now exploring the possibilities of empowering themselves with the cloud as it gives a big boost in providing services to the citizens. Apart from being a cost-effective solution, the cloud can help in managing both resources as well as data effectively. Given the growing number of small businesses in India, the day is not far when companies from all spheres would look at using cloud computing in a big way.”
An emerging solution for start-ups
One emerging trend amongst start-ups and SMBs is the adoption of cloud telephony. This can be simply defined as configuring a telephone in a browser. Through cloud telephony, one can virtually carry the desk phones on the browser, and make and receive calls through the computer itself. Cloud telephony is a solution that cuts costs by about five to six times compared to setting up the traditional infrastructure for an ePABX system, with telephone lines and handsets. Ambarish Gupta, chief executive officer, Knowlarity (a cloud telephony company) explains, “A start-up doesn’t need to invest in the hardware required for fixed landlines, when it goes for cloud telephony. The traditional telephony set-ups work best when one sets up a proper office. For start-ups, there are hardly any offices in the beginning. So cloud telephony works best for their connectivity from which ever location they are.” Cloud telephony can help in better management of time along with the provision for remote working, and increase overall efficiency.
Worries about data security
Cloud computing does provide multiple benefits, but start-ups are still sceptical about data security. Experts opine that small organisations can opt for the cloud any time, but larger organisations are a bit hesitant to give direct control of their IT infrastructure to some third-party vendor. Gadge opines, “Before opting for a cloud solution, customers should evaluate the contract with the service provider. They should be aware enough to understand the security checks in the cloud solution.”