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Three SMB cloud excuses debunked

30 May 2012

When the New Zealand Computer Society’s Cloud Code of Practice kicks off in a few months, it will be a sign the much-touted IT-as-a-Service model has reached a new level of maturity and accountability.

That means it’s time to debunk the excuses for not moving to the cloud, according to one hosting company boss – especially for small businesses, which are the organisations that have the most to gain.

In an address to the Cloud Computing Summit in Auckland yesterday, OneNet’s Michael Snowden explained that, like other, non-IT as-a-Service models, cloud computing has the potential to enhance the viability of a small business idea by allowing teams to focus on their core competencies.

"Cloud allows innovation by removing a huge part of the establishment cost for start-ups,” Snowden says.

"Every company has to have two or three things it does exceptionally well to create value. That’s what’s driving the model – doing only what you are very good at.”

In turn, the model also encourages providers to improve their offerings, as it’s in their interest to extend the life of their products.

"Rolls Royce have been leasing jet engines to airlines since the early 1980s. It’s in their interest to make sure those engines perform at their best.”

Even so, businesses are still cautious about moving to the cloud, citing security, agility and complexity as reasons to maintain the status quo.

However, Snowden says these excuses are a sign of ‘irrational’ decision-making.

"Businesses think they’re more secure within their firewall,” Snowden says, "but security is potentially much stronger outside of the firm, because it’s a core competency for the providers.”

Cloud computing is also much more agile, as it can be scaled down in times of downturn, unlike internal IT systems.

"Try selling secondhand servers when the economy’s in a downturn,” Snowden says.

Finally, cloud computing offers less complexity, not more, as it removes the need for a huge amount of equipment and support staff.

Beyond the excuses, there is only a status quo bias keeping people from realising the benefits of cloud computing.

"Some people will just always want to look at their servers and see the flashing lights,” Snowden says.

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