May 09 2019

How Small Businesses Are Succeeding in the Cloud

National Small Business Week: Cloud computing makes a lot of sense for SMBs. Here are three companies discovering its benefits.

How are small businesses managing when it comes to cloud migrations? According to the “RightScale 2019 State of the Cloud Report” from Flexera, 57 percent of small to mid-sized organizations describe their cloud maturity as being advanced or intermediate, and only 11 percent of SMBs have stayed entirely out of the cloud.

Cloud computing makes a great deal of sense for most small businesses: The cloud offers more predictable costs, allows businesses to shift costs from a capital expense to an operating expense, is often (but not always) less expensive, can be quickly scaled up or down depending on need and is simpler to manage.

With National Small Business Week upon us, then, it makes sense to have a look at some of the real-world cloud success stories that BizTech has featured in recent months among small to mid-sized organizations.

MORE FROM BIZTECH: Digital transformation starts with the data center.

The Cloud Makes It Easier to Scale

The BARBRI Group, an education company, has saved hundreds of thousands of ­dollars annually by shutting down its two data centers and moving fully to Microsoft Azure.

It’s a huge financial savings,” IT Director Mark Kaplan told BizTech. “We didn’t have to do a huge capital outlay, and we ended up finding out that it’s just easier to manage.”

One reason is the scalability that the cloud offers to a seasonal business like BARBRI, which has its busy seasons in summer and winter as it helps students prepare for exams. Instead of internal data centers running full throttle year-round, Azure allows the company to spin up more resources during the months of peak demand and scale down during slow periods, Kaplan said.

The Cloud Is an Option for Managing Desktops

Mead & Hunt, an architectural and engineering firm, was an early adopter of Desktop as a Service, a version of virtual desktop infrastructure that allows businesses to provision and manage resources entirely in the cloud.

As it grew rapidly, Mead & Hunt deployed DaaS early in 2018 to enable fast onboarding of new employees and offices.

The resulting business benefits are now spurring wider adoption of the technology, according to CIO Andy Knauf.

“DaaS continues to grow at our ­company. Two or three years from now, it might be used for 75 percent of our desktops,” Knauf said.

Knauf credited DaaS with providing the performance Mead & Hunt needs for large engineering drawings and modeling files by running applications and associated engineering data together in a Microsoft Azure cloud.


The Cloud Delivers Agility and Speed

Paybox, a payment facilitator for businesses, is running more than 80 percent of its workloads in the public cloud.

“We outgrew our private setup, and we started to see the benefits of moving to the cloud, including increased agility and scalability, with a faster infrastructure turnaround,” Jorge Ferrer, senior director of IT at Paybox, told BizTech. “We were able to fire up computing and storage instances a lot faster than it would take to order and procure hardware and have our engineers stage it and bring it up to production.”

The cloud shift is not only saving Paybox untold sums in infrastructure costs, but also helping the company to better serve its customers.

“It’s so easy to go to the cloud,” Ferrer said. “It’s so straightforward. For us, it’s a no-brainer.”

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