Cyber Security Month takes place every year in October, but don’t let that fool you; security should be top-of-mind 24/7/365. One question we hear a lot from SMB and Mid-Market IT leaders is if the cloud is a safer option. The short answer is yes. For most small to medium businesses, software as a service (SaaS) and cloud computing options are generally a safer route than the traditional method of hosting and maintain programs and systems locally behind a firewall.
Auto-updates make cloud software safer from the start
The traditional way of purchasing software and hosting it locally introduces security vulnerabilities the cloud can help you avoid. While hackers attack both cloud and internally hosted applications, the on-premises variety are hit more often, and those business suffer more severe consequences as compared to attacks on cloud service providers. Most SMBs today do not have a large internal IT staff to maintain, protect, troubleshoot and update on-premises software. This results in many of such programs running in outdated states that leave businesses vulnerable to attack. By purchasing SaaS versions of the same applications, the responsibility for updates and maintenance falls on the software provider. In doing so, the provider already offers a higher level of security than most SMBs can provide internally.
Migrating to the cloud offers many other SMB perks
Other perks of using SaaS apps include accessibility, flexibility, quality and shifting to an OPEX vs. CAPEX purchase model. The cloud allows you to access applications from anywhere with an Internet connection, so you don’t have to be in the office to use it. Cloud also tends to be more cost-efficient for the average mid-size business, allowing you to operate on a subscription or OPEX basis rather than purchasing a license outright and having to pay support fees separately. This gives SMBs the opportunity to receive the same enterprise-quality services at a more affordable cost without the headache of maintenance.
Those thinking about migrating to the cloud would be wise to ask themselves the following questions:
If you answered yes to two or more of these questions, then migrating to cloud based applications might be a smart move, indeed.
Unified communications plus SD-WAN is a safe way to start
In addition to logical cloud based apps like CRM and ERP/financial and business productivity applications, one of the smartest ways to start is with a cloud-based office voice/phone and collaboration system. Applications for unified communications, or UCaaS (Unified Communications as a Service) are particularly effective for SMBs, providing employee mobility, business continuity and simplified/centralized management in one subscription-based communications service. Solutions from a network/communications service provider, such as our Windstream Enterprise OfficeSuite UC, are ideal for SMBs seeking to simplify the management of their communications, while enabling your employees to increase collaborative productivity while providing a superior customer experience.
It is important, however, to keep in mind, cloud based applications are only as strong and secure as the network that delivers them. A great option for SMBs looking to make their cloud applications highly secure (meaning pretty much everyone) is SD-WAN – software defined wide area networks – which strengthen the performance, reliability and security of existing Internet connections used to access cloud-based apps. Our own SD-WAN Concierge solution, which provides a white-glove, fully-managed approach, makes an ideal choice for supporting applications like UCaaS, and ramping up security to protect and accelerate your entire business.
Whatever route you choose to go to the cloud, it’s a good idea to look into it now. It can provide a significant competitive advantage and those that make the move early are likely to reap the most significant and leverageable reward.
Michael Downing is the Vice President of Small Business and Mid-Market Direct Sales and Account Management and has over 15 years of experience working directly and indirectly with Small Business Owners. His responsibilities include leading a team of highly skilled advisors who identify and develop technology solutions for small and mid-size businesses. His team focuses on delivering technology solutions that fit the immediate and future needs of a growing business.
Downing came to Windstream in 2016 from Bank of America, where he was the Senior Vice President of Small Business Development. His responsibilities included developing programs for Small Business owners which provided financial, legal, marketing, and technology services and solutions for Small Business owners. Downing is a graduate of University of North Carolina at Charlotte where he holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics.
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