Cloud computing elevates SMEs

By Paul Bryce

Smaller companies haven’t fully embraced the full potential of cloud computing despite the fact that the technology can enable them to gain access to leading edge facilities usually reserved for their larger counterparts. Making the switch from using a capital expenditure model to a pay-as-you-go operational expenditure opens up opportunities to use enterprise grade IT without the hassle of maintenance.

The benefits of cloud computing are extensive and, for the first time ever, businesses are able to compete on a level playing field. We have taken infrastructure technology from tier-one vendors like VMWare, Cisco and EMC and offered it on a shared public cloud platform for the mid market SME customer.

Cloud infrastructures are very efficient and cost effective for customers to move all or some of their workload across to an outsourcing partner to take advantage of all of the benefits. The service can be aimed at new and start up businesses without the infrastructure or capital to get going but not everyone is aware of these benefits.

Many SMEs begin to use cloud computing with an email solution as a starting point. Others have used the cloud to set up document sharing for those inside and outside of the company, in a similar way to how Dropbox works.

Companies with aspirations for growth can stand to benefit from cloud computing. We get customers coming to us saying they keep having to buy new equipment because they are constantly outgrowing it, or it’s out of its warranty. Some companies are having headaches with maintaining their infrastructure, servers and storage and this is taking their focus away from delivering value to the business with the applications that are on that infrastructure.

They don’t want to manage that equipment any more, it’s just too intensive from a resource perspective and from a monetary perspective, and it’s inflexible, as it won’t adapt itself to companies during a time of expansion. With an on-demand infrastructure you can start with what you need today without worrying about tomorrow or the day after because the cloud can scale with you as and when needed.

About the author

Paul Bryce is Business Development Director at Node4.

Node4 is a data centre and communications specialist. Launched in 2004, the company has grown rapidly in the past nine years through its comprehensive service offering and the growth in demand for hosted IT from businesses all over the UK. Its competencies include cloud, colocation, managed hosting through cloud and virtualised environments, connectivity, SIP trunking and hosted telephony. It has four state-of-the-art data centre facilities, two located in Derby and one in Leeds and one in Northampton, which offer the latest in security technology, ensuring that even the most mission-critical applications are hosted securely and protected. Its leading solution, n4Cloud is a key part of the company’s wide product portfolio.

The company aims to be one of the UK’s major forces for colocation services in the UK and to this end, provides the highest levels of performance and system availability to its customers throughout the UK.

Node4 ranked 45th position in The Sunday Times Tech Track 100 and won 1st place for fastest growing Midlands Technology Company in the Deloitte Fast50 and 22nd in the UK. The company also featured highly in 139th position of the Deloitte Fast 500 recognising fastest-growing technology companies across Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

Node4’s Managing Director, Andrew Gilbert, was named European Data Centre Entrepreneur of the Year 2011 and Ernst & Young North and Midlands Young Entrepreneur of the Year 2011. Node4 is a Microsoft Certified Partner, a Cisco Premier Certified Partner and also won the prestigious Cisco Innovation Award of the Year for the UK and Ireland.

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