Chances are good that if you’re a small business operating today you have considered moving some, or indeed all, of your operations to the cloud.

Cloud computing can facilitate this process as it allows a business to move all or part of its operations to remote servers. Where once you might have had to install a mail server, or application server on your premises now you can use a remote server.

This means costs which are associated with infrastructure including maintenance no longer apply to your business as you would be effectively “renting” this infrastructure.

The applications which the cloud is capable of serving are vast, but who should be using the cloud? According to Acer Africa’s head of commerical business Vic Brits, everybody but small-medium businesses (SMB) in particular.

“Cloud computing is especially attractive to knowledge-based start-ups and SMB businesses as it lowers initial cost outlay. Larger corporates usually start by moving their commodity applications like mail and CRM, to cloud providers first, and then follow with other critical business systems later,” explains Brits.

With hardware being as expensive as it is removing that capital expenditure from your business and transforming it into operating expenditure by using remote cloud services can be hugely beneficial.

Plan plan plan

That having been said, moving all your operations to the cloud at once isn’t something Brits advises. Instead he suggests a business do its homework.

“Transitioning to the cloud from on premise equipment must be approached like any major IT project. It requires a deep understanding of its current internal IT systems and the interdependency of applications and data sources,” explains Brits.

This understanding of existing systems is vital because while cloud infrastructure may be more cost effective in the long run, choosing the wrong solution can also be detrimental.

For instance, should your business make use of customised applications you should take some time and assign part of your cloud budget to analysing the complexity of these applications. This will help when it comes to choosing a solution that suits your business.

When the time comes to migrate apps to the cloud Brits advises an app-by-app approach be taken.

While cloud solutions do yield cost benefits for some, Brits says that every business should confirm costs and licensing regarding the use of these applications. In short, read the small print and make sure your needs are being fulfilled.

Make no mistake that cloud and migration to the cloud can be a complex process. One wrong configuration and your data might be exposed on the public web so insure that your business has the right skills available for the duration of the cloud migration project.

Cloud computing is constantly being improved by big corporations and small-medium business (SMB) can really take advantage of these leaps because they have an advantage over the big players according to Brits.

“SMB’s are inherently nimbler and can embrace the digital transformation with less internal barriers. We therefore expect SMB’s to lead the adoption of Cloud in South Africa,” says Brits.

Migrating to cloud solutions can be complex so the key appears to be knowledge. Don’t be afraid to ask as many questions as possible and make sure you double, then triple check your plans before moving to the cloud.