Small businesses have seen the light behind the cloud — cloud computing, that is — and are adopting it and other new options like virtualization and mobile technology to run their operations more efficiently and safely, according to a new study by IT security firm Symantec. Here’s a look at the new technology that’s shaping today’s business world.
New Technology for Small Businesses
To define terms, “cloud” refers to the Internet and “computing” covers any IT activity that’s carried out using a local server or personal computer to store, manage, and process data. “Virtualization” is the creation of a virtual (rather than actual) version of something. “Mobile technology” is a collective term used to describe the various types of cellular communication technology, including smartphones, laptops and tablets.
Based on responses from more than 2,000 small and medium-sized businesses (SMB) worldwide employing between five and 250 employees, the Symantec survey concludes that cloud computing, virtualization and mobile technology are increasingly prevalent. In fact, 35 percent of SMBs are currently using mobile devices for business applications.
Respondents also indicated that disaster preparedness was an important factor in their adoption of the technologies, which they reported had improved their ability to deal with data loss and other security threats.
“Today’s SMBs are in a unique position to embrace new technology that not only provides a competitive edge, but also allow them to improve their ability to recover from a disaster while protecting the information that their businesses depend on,” says Steve Cullen, SVP of worldwide marketing for SMB and .Cloud at Symantec. “SMBs cannot afford lengthy downtimes, so the ability to quickly recover from a disaster is critical. Technologies such as visualization, cloud computing and mobility, combined with a sound plan and comprehensive security and data protection solutions, enable SMBs to better prepare for and quickly recover from potential disasters, such as floods or files, as well as lost or stolen mobile devices and laptops.”
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Virtualization and cloud computing were once considered the domain of larger companies, but that’s beginning to change, according to Symantec. Of the SMBs surveyed:
- 34 percent of respondents already deploy or benefit from server virtualization
- 40 percent said they are deploying on public clouds
- 43 percent said they are using private clouds to help run their businesses
- Mobility had increased respondents’ disaster preparedness 36 percent of the time
- 71 percent said their disaster preparedness had improved with virtualization
- 43 percent of the businesses said private cloud deployment had improved their ability to handle a disaster; 41 percent said the same about their use of a public cloud
Based on the survey results, Symantec recommends that small businesses develop a disaster plan and consider including cloud computing, virtualization and mobility as components of it.
About the Author: Beth Longware Duff is a professional editor and award-winning writer whose work on a wide variety of topics has been published in print and electronic media. She currently writes on a wide range of topics dealing with electronic payment processing and credit card processing services for Merchant Express.