This accelerated growth of Australia’s SMEs is unlocking new and innovative opportunities for entrepreneurs. A vast majority are optimistic about digital technologies and are willing to make the required investment, but the pressures of the global economy and a shift to hybrid work, have put an enormous strain on others, leading to IT budget cuts.
SMEs will quickly realise that chipping away at IT budgets can become troublesome in the long run. To stay competitive, they will have to put aside their fears of cost, limited manpower and resources, and look at digital transformation from a long-term perspective.
Cloud computing has been a gamechanger for businesses big and small, especially during the pandemic era. Its benefits have enabled SMEs to have quicker turnaround and easier access to their web-based applications, data storage and processing needs thus facilitating remote work, automatic syncing of data and easy backups.
Let’s look at what SMEs can do to successfully leverage cloud computing technologies:
1. Develop a comprehensive cloud adoption strategy
The best way for an SME to begin the journey on the cloud is to take a step back and get a good view from the top. This gives you the opportunity to consider every single element across the business – from people, strategy, and structure, to governance and security. Once you are clear on your expectations, you can adopt a strategy with less risk.
For example, the Software-as-a-Service or SaaS model offers near-limitless scalability, making it easy for businesses to respond to new opportunities and business requirements. It is ideal for SMEs starting out on their cloud journeys because it allows businesses to access software over the internet, eliminating any large upfront costs of purchasing and installing software systems on servers throughout the company.
2. Closely examine costs
Despite a vast majority of channel partners agreeing that cloud computing is a key priority for their customers’ 2023 strategy, not all businesses plan to or are able to invest heavily in the space. Many are walking the fine line between investing in cloud and being mindful of budgets in light of macroeconomic headwinds. The ideal scenario is to work with a developer-friendly cloud and compute ecosystem that offers flexibility and cost-effectiveness, while avoiding bill shock. Alternatively, you could adopt alternative cloud solutions that offer flexibility and open source, making it simple and affordable, and ensuring you are not locked in with a single provider.
3. Create a reliable and trusted cloud security and governance framework
It isn’t enough to simply deploy a cloud strategy. Because cloud services have become so commonplace, there is a high risk of large-scale data breaches. Working with a cloud security partner to develop virtual private networks, restrict access, and encrypt databases, ensures that your business is safe from sophisticated cyber-attacks. This is especially critical at a time when there is a risk of complacency setting in from breach fatigue. Partnering with a company that offers clear visibility on the latest developments in the threat landscape, can make a big difference.
Australian SMEs waiting for the opportune moment to invest in the cloud couldn’t have picked a better time. Earlier this year, the Australian Federal Budget announced a tax break for SMEs to save on their energy bills. Cloud operators have already been moving in the same direction as they use far less energy and infrastructure to power their operations – which translates to lower costs for local businesses, making it a real tipping point for the industry.
By Jay Jenkins, CTO Cloud Computing, Akamai Technologies
This article was first published by Inside Small Business