Small Business Move To Cloud? 8 Factors Say No

The cloud might not be right for your small business yet. It’s OK to keep the “family jewels” local.

I’ve read many articles on the cloud, written and lectured about the move from the PC era to the cloud era. Cloud features, such as hosted corporate email solutions, online backup, hosted anti-spam and backup systems that replicate off-site backups, are great. And the cloud is proving to be a useful adjunct for local computing devices of many types, from smartphones to tablets to servers.

I’m starting to encounter clients approached by competitors to move PCs and servers to the cloud. They know they have to replace obsolete or failing servers. Why invest in a server they would rather not have to support if they can park their data in the cloud on a virtual (simulated) server and pay a monthly fee?

But with all of these advantages and more, does it make sense for small businesses to move their operations to the cloud? Not necessarily.

The reality is that it’s perfectly OK to keep the “family jewels” local. Not one of the three clients I’ve done servers for this year seriously considered cloud servers. Another client did receive a proposal from a competitor to migrate to a private cloud but is staying put with its own stable server.

Why didn’t any of them go with cloud servers?

1. They work in single offices. Some small businesses do not have mobile employees. For the few who work from home or on the road, they can connect to their computers and the server remotely through a variety of methods. They can also access shared files through services such as Dropbox. I do think cloud servers make sense if your staff is always on the road or you don’t have a central office, or if you’re a startup with heavy computing power requirements. Virtual cloud servers are quick to spin up for software development and powerful applications in pharmaceutical and other computational intensive settings.

2. If you move everything to the cloud, you’re utterly dependent on your Internet connection. You may have to upgrade your service and get a second Internet connection with a new firewall that can support two Internet connections with automatic failover if the primary Internet connection fails. Otherwise, you’re risking substantial downtime during Internet outages. With a local server, you can keep working.

3. Running applications from the cloud server over an Internet connection is not practical. Cloud servers make more sense for data storage and file sharing, rather than running applications.