How SMEs can make the most of the cloud

25th April 2013

The cloud is opening up a wealth of opportunities to improve their communication infrastructure, work more efficiently and bring their IT operations under a more cost-effective, fixed cost structure.

Microsoft research shows 50% of SMEs agree the cloud is becoming more important to their operations, however questions remain over how best to make use of the cloud opportunity.

Simply Mail Solutions offer a range of cloud-based services to help businesses of all sizes. Below are examples of how you can benefit from moving from in-house hosted services to a cloud hosted environment.

Business Email

Hosting email in-house can be expensive and involves maintaining server equipment, purchasing licences and dealing with backups and IT administration headaches.

Moving to our Hosted Microsoft Exchange platform delivers a robust cloud-based email system with all the advanced features you expect:

  • Mobile email — Access your messages across smartphones and tablets.
  • Webmail — If you can find a web browser you can catch up on your messages.
  • Syncing — All your information is kept in sync across all your devices, including emails, contact details and calendars.

Email is the most common service to move to the cloud, and a Microsoft Exchange environment delivers the modern, flexible business email environment that SMEs need to thrive.

Document storage

Many cloud storages providers are consumer-led. These generally provide a simple 'file and folder' structure that gives general access to all documents for anybody with login details. For SMEs, these public cloud providers may not deliver the security needed in a business environment.

Documents can contain confidential information, with access restricted to key employees. Using a locked-down, private, cloud solutions, such as that offered by Microsoft SharePoint gives you much more than a simple online folder, delivering:

  • Controlled access to specific files
  • A central library for storage, sharing and collaboration.
  • The ability to build intranets and external websites.

Moving business documents over to cloud storage means you can access those documents from anywhere (useful for when working away from the office, or if you don't have an office at all). There are also security benefits from not having sensitive information on a PC or laptop, which could be stolen or misplaced.

Web conferencing

Travel expenses can be a major outlay for SMEs. Visiting customers, or bringing together remote workers for a meeting, incurs a great deal of expense and takes away valuable time from the working day.

Web conferencing, with Microsoft Lync, eliminates travelling from your working day. Web conferencing means you can hold meetings online, with customers and colleagues able to join in from their locations using their own Lync, or via the web browser.

The all-in-one solution

For businesses who don't want to use separate services for their cloud-based plans, Microsoft Office 365 delivers a total combined solution. Mixing business email, cloud storage (1TB per user), and desktop, mobile, and online versions of the most popular Microsoft Office apps, SMEs can quickly move to operations to the cloud in a secure, controlled way.

Be flexible and productive

There are many ways SMEs can benefit from the cloud. Business email is the most obvious use for cloud services, and is how many companies first understand the benefits of moving their infrastructure away from in-house servers and onto managed, fixed-cost external platforms.

With cloud services, SMEs can be more flexible with their working day. There's no need to be tied to an office desk (in fact many start-ups don't have an office to keep business costs low) and customer communications are quicker.

Whatever size business you are, we can help you move to the cloud. Find out more by emailing us, having a live chat or calling +44 (0) 1925 818448.

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