cloud technology

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Small business owners across the country are starting to consider how they can overhaul their IT systems to streamline operations and boost productivity. For many organizations, 2014 will be a landmark year in terms of technology adoption. According to recent survey from j2 Global, 88 percent of small business leaders are seeking┬áto, or wish they could eliminate at least one older technology from their offices this year. From traditional fax machines to landline phones, America’s small companies are looking to implement cutting-edge technology in the next 12 months. In particular, they are eyeing cloud computing deployments.

Small companies want cloud capabilities

The source found that 60 percent of respondents expect to save money by launching cloud initiatives this year. Doing so will allow businesses to streamline all departments and may even reduce the need to purchase older tech hardware that may be inefficient today. With the cloud, companies are able to establish cutting-edge marketing and communications solutions that utilize social media and VoIP systems, respectively. Mike Pugh, the vice president of marketing at j2 Global, believes the switch to the cloud will only continue for small businesses. “With the cost-savings and increased productivity entrepreneurs gain as they move more of their business functions to the cloud, we’re not surprised this 2014 survey finds SMBs planning to further leverage social media, virtual phone services, email marketing, and online faxing,” Pugh asserted. “The overall message from the survey is that the cloud just makes smart business sense for the SMB.”

Improved data recovery

Not only can the cloud help small businesses save money in the long run, it can allow them to better protect their data. According to a separate survey from Avere Systems, 60 percent of enterprises believe disaster recovery capabilities are the top benefit of the cloud. Because they are instantly connected to virtual environments, cloud systems can easily be backed up via a dedicated server or off-site data center. For any businesses, keeping data safe is essential in the modern world. Cyberthreats continue to evolve, meaning that businesses need to stay ahead of attack trends in order to ensure they are not the subject of a data breach. Such events can be costly and time consuming to address, and may even hurt a business’s reputation among its consumers. Ultimately, it could lead to a decline in sales and customer loyalty levels.

Remote access

The cost-effective nature of the cloud and the technology’s ability to make disaster recovery easier are just two of the business benefits that virtualized services offer. More importantly, the cloud makes it possible for enterprises to become more efficient by enabling remote access to networks. This way, employees on the road or at home can stay connected to the office or reach out to clients across the world. It’s a truly revolutionary technology, but it’s still relatively misunderstood. Understanding the cloud The cloud is not an actual product, rather a way of sharing, storing and collaborating. Cloud technology is powered by other hardware and services, such as dedicated servers, powerful network routers and remote storage services from data center management companies. In many cases, investing in the cloud means that businesses need to purchase new equipment in order to make in-house cloud architectures possible. Although these initial investments can worry some executives, the long-term benefits of having scalable storage solutions make purchasing such hardware a worthy expense. Also, by using ABN’s promotional discounts for its technology partners, small businesses can save on new servers that can last for years, enabling cloud augmentations down the line. With these discounts, IT teams will be able to present a better case to the board for cloud adoption.

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