Small businesses can compete, thanks to the cloud

    Many information technology experts agree that cloud computing is one of the most effective solutions for small businesses. The cloud is used for a variety of reasons, including to help companies lower operating costs, improve employee collaboration capabilities and boost disaster preparedness. IT nonprofit CompTIA recently announced that the cloud is also a competitive advantage for small businesses that adopt the platform.

    CompTIA highlighted California-based ClikCloud, which is a member of its National Small Business Week event and a promoter of cloud computing technology.

    "The cloud has created a frictionless market for us to deliver high value services at an affordable price point," ClikCloud founder Dan Shapero explained. "Because everything we do is in the cloud we can serve our customers regardless of location. Economies of scale afforded by the cloud help keep our capital costs down and help fix our operating expenses. In turn, we can put our efforts into value added service instead of maintenance of expensive infrastructure."

    CompTIA added that the United States, in particular, is a hotbed for cloud computing, especially among small businesses. The technology affords new startups the ability to improve their public services and achieve growth quickly. The organization asserted that the Small Business Administration and public IT policies must support the cloud for America to remain the global leader in this field. Beyond traditional business applications benefiting from the cloud, now cloud-based phone systems for small business are gaining in popularity.

    Cloud fueling unified communications market

    Small businesses have continued to support cloud computing and unified communications. CompTIA recently released a study that said the cloud will fuel adoption rates of UC in the future. Of the organizations surveyed, 80 percent believe UC offers their companies value, while medium and larger businesses are even more adamant in this assertion.

    "Organizations have a clear vision of what they expect to gain from unified communications - greater employee productivity, reduced costs and a means to improve customer engagement," CompTIA technology analysis director Seth Robinson said. "But to get there, significant barriers must be overcome."

    Robinson explained that some of the issues plaguing companies regarding the adoption of unified communications include how to effectively calculate a return on their investment and incorporate social networking, video conference and mobility.

    To improve these problems, Robinson indicated that a hybrid cloud model can help organizations collaborate with web conferencing technology and on-site data, voice and video solutions.

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