ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Cloud Computing and Small Businesses: Benefits and Issues

Updated on December 28, 2014

Computing in the Cloud

What is Cloud Computing

A cloud provider is a company that offers services as: 1) Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), 2) Software as a Service (SaaS) or 3) Platform as a Service (PaaS) to businesses customers or individuals.

It is common knowledge that small businesses are constrained by financial limitations while at the same time they need to use modern technologies to compete in a fiercely competitive marketplace. It is in this context that cloud computing can provide small business owners with an opportunity to use one of most cost effective technology solutions available. In this article we discuss how small businesses can benefit from cloud computing. In addition, we also explore some challenges and risks small business owner should be aware of when seeking to integrate cloud computing solutions into their business.

Cloud computing has become a household name in the field of information technology such that everyone connected directly or indirectly with it has a different definition. For some it is an technological innovation and for others it is an enabling technology competing with traditional technology that offers economies of scale to reduce operating costs. In simple terms, cloud computing can be viewed as a large network of computers managed by large organizations to provide services (outsourced) to small business enterprises or individuals.

Workers Collaborate to Share Information
Workers Collaborate to Share Information | Source

Cloud Service Providers to Watch

  • CloudBees
  • Engine Yard
  • dotCloud
  • Profit Bricks
  • Heroku

Cloud computing offers benefits ...

Small business owners by opting for cloud computing platforms can realize the following benefits

  • There is no need for them to incur upfront investment costs for computing or networking infrastructure. This means that they can use available financial resources and personnel for other revenue producing activities or to increase working capital, liquidity or cash flow
  • Ease of storage and access of business information
  • Data backup and recovery

All of the above are basic uses of cloud computing because there is no need on the part of the small business enterprise to purchase equipment, install hardware, manage servers, maintain/upgrade software to prevent obsolescence, etc. In addition, less onsite computing equipment can also result in reduced utility costs as part of a green strategy, Cloud computing is also gaining creditability as service provider such as Amazon, Microsoft, Google and other well known companies continue to introduce new services.

Cloud Computing Visualized
Cloud Computing Visualized | Source

Quick Poll

What cloud computing service do you use?

See results

However, small businesses need to be cautious ...

Cloud computing has not fully matured fully and business owners need to be aware of several technical and non-technical issues:

Weak Security - This is a critical issue in cloud computing as businesses may store critical information on IT resources outside the control of the users. Small businesses resort to using the services of third party cloud computing service providers in order to derive cost benefits but such an advantage has the possibility of being their data being compromised or stolen by third-parties breaching the security of their network or by the actions/inaction of their employees.

Customization - The need to customize cloud computing acts as a barrier for small businesses since no one plan is a fit for all small businesses. This requires small business to have some level of technical expertise to integrate their local IT infrastructure and business processes with the cloud computing platform.

Term and Conditions, Pricing. - Like most services, terms and conditions change over time. While many of these changes can be beneficial, sometimes they can also be very problematic. More importantly, depending on how integrated your business operations are with the cloud computing service provider, you may be captive to their new policies or price increases.

Video describing the benefits and risks associated with Cloud Computing

Join the Discussion

If you have experiences, thoughts, or comments about this story? Please tell us! For more ideas and information about computer, visit our blog.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)