Innovation, Technology

Don’t Let Misconceptions Derail Your SMB’s Cloud Journey

Ronald Van Loon from ECI solutions breaks down the cloud system in this blog post.

Imagine you’re an SMB owner with a close-knit group of employees. You run a tight ship and for the most part, your business has been operating smoothly. You’ve probably had a thought along the lines of, “My company is too small to entice hackers or cybercriminals. My wife and I are the only people who can access login details for our software, and we keep that information safe. Who could possibly have any interest in breaking into our system?”

Bad actors do. A 2023 survey conducted by the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) found that 62 per cent of SMB owners have experienced a cyber security incident. However, according to the same report, there is a definitive low level of understanding regarding cyber security resulting in poor cyber security practices for SMB owners.

Given the sophistication and breadth of cyberattacks today, SMB leaders need to prioritise security via technology like the cloud and use this as a foundation for their digital transformation program. However, improved security is only one of the many benefits for SMBs. Moving to the cloud is like stepping through a doorway to better opportunities for innovation, new business models, improved collaboration, and reduced costs among other advantages.

Yet despite the benefits, some SMBs remain hesitant about migrating to the cloud. Others are ready but want to try a DIY approach. Whichever boat you happen to be in, the cloud is the place to be—and the time to become a cloud-driven SMB was yesterday. Let’s shine some light on common fears surrounding the cloud and why it’s a journey that SMBs shouldn’t attempt alone.

Unfounded Fears Often Outweigh Cloud Benefits for SMBs

I’ve seen first-hand that SMBs often have several hesitations about migrating to the cloud. If any of these hesitations sound familiar, know you’re far from alone. The most common concerns I see are:

  • Security. Fears about the security of data and applications in the cloud is a common concern and so SMBs keep servers on-premise for better control over security.
  • Cost. SMBs believe it will be more expensive to migrate to the cloud than maintain their on-premise server.
  • Customisation. SMBs may have specific needs that are not well served by off-the-shelf cloud solutions and may prefer to maintain their own infrastructure to have more control over customisation.
  • Dependency. SMBs may have concerns about the dependency on internet connection and the potential for service outages.
  • Compliance. SMBs may be subject to regulatory requirements that make it difficult for them to use cloud services or they may have concerns about meeting compliance requirements in the cloud.
  • Data sovereignty. SMBs may prefer to keep their data within the country, or even within the organisation’s premises to ensure better control over it.
  • Legacy systems. SMBs may have invested heavily in their existing IT infrastructure and may not want to replace it, making it difficult to move to the cloud.
  • Internet speed. SMBs may have limited internet connectivity or low-speed internet which can make it difficult to use cloud services effectively.

In most cases, these concerns are unfounded. Zach Hale and Toby Cox from Software Advice correct this misinformation. For example, cloud can mitigate the risk of cybercrime and prevent criminals from accessing and capitalising on sensitive data that can compromise your customers, personnel, suppliers, and business. Additionally, cloud migration is often a minimal initial investment that allows for more budgeting agility with a fixed monthly subscription cost. Since cloud software is priced under either a monthly or annual subscription, SMB owners are afforded more flexibility than they would have with the capital expenditure associated with on-premise software.

Business Manager of The Computing Australia Group, Chris Karapetcoff, says the cloud offers many benefits for SMBs including data security, cost reduction, efficiency and scalability, business processes’ mobility, and disaster recovery.

ECI Solutions’ JobBOSS² software allows SMB leaders to drive SMB growth within a single job shop manufacturing software solution. This software affords organisations increased control over how they scale the business with real-time operational visibility to boost revenue and maximise profitability.

A DIY approach to cloud migration can derail the SMB digital transformation journey

SMBs who are preparing to migrate to the cloud often discover that the reality of this undertaking is quite different from the simple “how to” guides featured online.

The ACSC found that while many SMB leaders may understand they are lacking in cyber security, they are unsure of where to start or what to do about it.

Let me share a short story that one of my SMB clients told me:

“As SMB manufacturers, we often find ourselves in the familiar situation of researching cloud providers and trying to understand the technical options available. However, as we delve into the process, we quickly realise that the task is more complex than we initially thought.

The different types of clouds and services, each with their own advantages and disadvantages, can be overwhelming. We learn that migration to the cloud requires a thorough assessment of our current infrastructure, careful planning, testing and retesting, scaling and ongoing management.

It becomes clear that we do not have the expertise or time to handle this transition on our own.”

The experience leads to frustration and creates another barrier on the road to cloud migration. The ACSC recommends SMBs enlist the support of experienced partners to alleviate the complexity associated with cloud migration and help them identify the best cloud solution for their needs while providing guidance on using these solutions effectively.

With the providers like ECI Solutions, SMBs can also access support in resolving issues that might arise during the migration processes or while using cloud services, and receive help scaling their IT resources, maintaining compliance with regulatory requirements, and ensuring operational continuity in the instance of a disaster. Most importantly, they’ll obtain a cost-effective solution that truly aligns with their business needs.

ECI Solutions provides customers with a responsive support team, carefully trained to help SMB owners reach their business goals seamlessly, minimising any hiccups while transitioning to cloud software.

SMBs shouldn’t wait to grasp their full cloud potential

The transition to the cloud is a necessary journey for SMBs, and with the help of the right experts, it can be a smooth and efficient process that delivers the full potential the cloud can offer. The only real concern SMBs should have in a data-driven world is waiting to adopt the cloud. Xero’s One Step report found that small businesses that adopt new technologies enjoy 120 per cent more revenue and a 106 per cent increase in productivity than their delayed counterparts. However, the report found that although 7 in 10 Australians are confident about embracing new technology in their business, many Australian small businesses often show resistance to change, choice paralysis, uncertainty, and information avoidance.

To keep up with today’s digital transformation, and to keep your business safe, read through the ACSC Small Businesses Cyber Security Guide and chat with the ECI Solutions team.

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