As the recession continues to put pressure on small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) across the UK, an increasing number of companies are turning to cloud computing solutions to enhance efficiencies and reduce costs in a trend which is set to break the technology into the mainstream in 2010.
Cloud computing, where the needs of users are satisfied by web-based software rather than stored on large in-house servers, enables businesses to store critical data and information in secure data centres which assume responsibility for maintenance, updating of software and security.
SMEs are waking up to the benefits of using cloud computing and software-as-a-service (SaaS) solutions to obtain low-cost access to state-of-the-art technology which has previously been the preserve of large corporations. Gone are the days when a £10,000-plus IT investment – consisting of hardware, servers, software licences and phone systems – was a mandatory requirement for access to the latest technology. Now SaaS solutions can be made available to SMEs for as little as £6 a month.
Outsourcery, a leading communications and hosted IT company, is providing innovative cloud computing services to SMEs across the UK. The London and Manchester-based company, which has 25,000 customers in the UK and 100,000 business users, is a Microsoft lead partner for hosed services in the UK.
Piers Linney, joint-Chief Executive Officer at Outsourcery, said: “The arrival of cloud computing - where software and hardware is pooled centrally and made available over the Internet - has parallels with the early use of electrical power. When industry first started using electricity, each business had to build a generating plant.”
“This model was replaced with large centralised power stations with electricity distributed using the National Grid network - providing customers with ‘on-demand’ power without any investment or maintenance costs and billing based on only what was used.”
“Cloud computing can sound like a very amorphous concept, perhaps even conjuring up images of important business data floating around in the skies above us. It often raises questions about control and security. But the reality is a lot more down to earth and it is quite simply the future of computing and the way in which businesses will consume pooled resources of software and hardware,” said Linney.
Analyst firm Gartner has predicted that Cloud computing will be the top technology area in the IT arena in 2010.