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It’s an interesting dilemma that many small businesses are now facing with all the “noise” that is around about utilising the cloud in dayiStock_000018007886Small.jpg
to day business with the applications they already use and applications they are thinking about deploying.

Many small enterprises struggle with the idea of putting their critical business information in to a data center that is owned and managed by someone else. Particularly those businesses that still subscribe to the concept of if I can see it, touch it and put it in an asset register its then it’s mine and I can control it.

Recently I spoke with the person responsible for  IT in a small chemical manufacturing and distribution company and that was the challenge for him – he could see the benefit of moving to the cloud but the owners of the business had that traditional view that I mentioned earlier and it was difficult to convince them.

I must admit that I was also hesitant about the concept of putting all my data and access to the systems that I use every day in to a data center and accessing them via the cloud.

But my hand was forced when the cost of running 5 servers, maintaining redundant internet connections (with the bandwidth I needed), cooling the servers and ensuring continuity of power and disaster recovery reached a tipping point where the economics of moving all my servers and applications in to a data center were impossible to ignore.

My servers are now co-located in a state of the art data center in Sydney with everything that I need to ensure secured, highly available and high speed access….things that I could never contemplate if I had my servers in my own premises including biometric access control, 24 hours a day security, monitoring of access, fire control, redundant power generation, redundant temperature management  and more and right now it looks like I am on track to save almost 20% of the cost of maintaining the server infrastructure in my own premises.

Already I am seeing the value returned to me in terms of cold hard cash…but the advantages are only just starting to accrue as I am now able to deliver an even better service level to my “customers” – the partners, customers, students, prospective customers and SAP team members that access the servers on a regular basis to do demos, test software scenarios and learn more about our software, SAP Business One.

Now as I look back, I don’t know why I waited so long to make the move.

So as a small business what can you learn from my experience….first things first…..security and access control is now no longer an issue…its actually impossible for a non authorised person to get access to my servers – before I was still subject to risks of theft, unauthorised access, fire flood
and more.

Also, the data center I am co-located in has peering (data is transmitted between networks at no cost) facilities with Amazons AWS Cloud Storage services so every day my critical data is backed up to the S3 service for a higher level of data security and disaster recovery.

Do you have a disaster recovery strategy?

Are your backups stored offsite?

What happens if you have an extended power outage?

Having your data and systems located in the cloud solves most if not all of those issues if you do it right.

I also decided to move my email access from my own Exchange and SharePoint servers to Microsoft’s Office365 service….again, a great idea as I now have a simple way of accessing the software as a service without having to worry about managing the backend servers and I can add and remove users as I
need to with the latest versions of the server software without having to manage all the complexities of upgrades and provisioning servers.

And all the SAP Business One demo systems I am running can seamlessly access Office365 and SharePoint delivering a simple and smooth integration.

And I pay for the access to the software based on what I use…I can boost it and cut it back as I need to.

This is the primary reason why SAAS (Software as a Service) is so popular….you get the applications you need without the major investments in infrastructure, with world class security and access control….managed by someone else.

All you need to do is ensure that the provider has the right certifications in place with independent auditing of their compliance…this is something we ensure for partners who offer SAP Business One Cloud, by the way, they must go through a certification process and audit in order to offer the solution.

Can I recommend going down this path?

   

Absolutely….but because I have already done it and I am speaking directly from experience not because its the Tech Trend du jour

I would love to hear from you about your thoughts on this topic…are you a cloud advocate or sceptic and why – let me know and if you have questions – ask away, I am happy to get you an answer.

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2 Comments

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  1. Carsten Nitschke

    Richard,

    you put it right on the spot. Most of the companies I am talking too have exact the same issue plus in addition that they like to see as well the teams that are taking care of the Infrastructure and brag about how many people they have, …. still.

    Whilst it is in any business class you can take that everybody should focus on core competencies and only do what he/she can do best and most profitable this is probably one of the most disobeyed golden rules out there. SaaS, PaaS and all the other buzzy abreviations are here to stay and will evolve.

    Appreciate the way you have layed out your personal experience since it should be a good demonstrations of, no need to fear and see how much better things can get.

    Congrats!

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    1. Richard Duffy Post author

      Thanks Carsten.

      I plan to share some more experiences also talking about the day to day operations and management of a cloud deployment so stay tuned for that as well

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