Cloud computing and SMEs in Kenya

Introduction

Cloud computing is the current big thing and from the National Broadband Strategy of Kenya, ICT is considered an enabler for an advanced country with a foundation for economic growth and job creation. SMEs play a key role in creating employment opportunities, sustaining local demand of goods and services, contributing to the Gross domestic product value and assure economic growth. The cloud offers many opportunities and can help SMEs improve their business by efficient use and application of technology.

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What is cloud computing

Cloud computing according to IBM can be defined as the delivery of on-demand computing resources – servers, storage, databases, networking, software, analytics, intelligence among others – over the internet on a pay-for-use basis. These resources are elastic meaning they can scale up or down quickly and easily to meet changing demand. Some of the benefits of the cloud include: low costs, increased productivity, scale elastic, increased performance and speed.

Benefits of the cloud for SMEs

Cloud computing has the potential to boost SME’s growth and encourages entrepreneurial growth. It gives small and medium sized enterprises an even playing field with bigger companies and competitors.

Some of the advantages of cloud computing to SMEs include:

i. Reduced Costs

Adoption of the cloud results to reduction in the cost of managing and maintaining your IT infrastructure. The business does not need to purchase high end computer systems and equipment as they will transferred to be using a cloud service provider’s resources(systems). In business it reduces the operation cost in the following ways:

  • Saves time in system upgrades, new hardware and software purchase.
  • Reduced energy consumption since the systems are not located at the business premises.
  • Reduced expenses on wages for technical staff to maintain and run systems.
ii. Scalability

With SMEs, growth is something desired though with fears. Growth can be attributed to increased demand in goods and services that can push the needs to transition to a larger business model that can be sophisticated and costly.

The cloud allows a business to scale up or scale down their operations to quickly suit their current situation. This allows flexibility with changing needs as the burden is transferred to the cloud service provider (CSP) to handle this process systematically. The CSP can increase the processing power, available storage memory, perform software updates and hardware upgrades at the click of a button and this saves time. This ensure the business is running and focused to its objectives.

iii. Ensures Business Continuity

This can be attributed to fault tolerance and resilience that is provided by the cloud. Cloud providers offer fault tolerance as a service that addresses user’s concerns regarding reliability and availability. In cases of natural disasters and power failures, adopting the cloud ensures data backup and recovery processes are taken care of that assures business processes proceed as usual.

iv. Improved Collaboration and Productivity

The cloud provides employees a digital workplace that is key for online collaboration through cloud-based systems like Microsoft Office 365 and Google G-Suite. They enable many users to instantly access and modify a shared document that can significantly improve efficiency. This collaboration provides an online platform that connects people remotely, anywhere and any computing device access, this in turn places your business ahead of competitors.

 

v. Security

The cloud provides small business a solution to cybercrime with their layer of security in terms of the hardware and general defense mechanisms. Data stored in the cloud is encrypted by the CSP and have necessary physical and logical security measures that may not be accessible for a small business enterprise. Other security solutions include protection against DDoS (Distributed denial of service) and regulatory compliance.

At Pong Agencies we would say if your SMEs hasn’t adopted cloud computing, you are missing out on a huge opportunity and many advantages. Our question is,” Why isn’t your business in the cloud.”

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