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Sunday World - - World Of Jobs - Staff Re­porter

SOUTH African small and medium en­ter­prises (SMEs) are em­brac­ing cloud-based ap­pli­ca­tions.

Though the mar­ket is be­com­ing so­phis­ti­cated, there are still myths pre­vail­ing about the risks and ben­e­fits of cloud com­put­ing, says Ivan Epstein, co-founder of Soft­line and chief ex­ec­u­tive of Sage Aus­tralia, Asia, Mid­dle East and Africa.

The cloud prom­ises to make the use of busi­ness IT re­sources on­line and on de­mand as easy as ser­vices such as Gmail and Drop­box,” says Epstein.

It’s about having a flex­i­ble new way of buy­ing ap­pli­ca­tions and ser­vices. Many fears sur­round­ing the cloud are now out of date.” Myth 1: It s not se­cure Many SMEs worry that their data will not be safe with a cloud soft­ware provider. But if you choose a cred­i­ble ven­dor, they host and man­age your ap­pli­ca­tion and data in a top-tier data cen­tre un­der­pinned by world-class tech­nol­ogy, says Epstein. Such a fa­cil­ity will fea­ture the lat­est in­for­ma­tion and phys­i­cal se­cu­rity. Th­ese fa­cil­i­ties will be as se­cure as those where your bank keeps your con­fi­den­tial fi­nan­cial in­for­ma­tion locked up.”

Myth 2: An or­di­nary mo­bile broad­band or ADSL line isn t good enough

Many SMEs are us­ing cloud ser­vices on stan­dard ADSL and mo- bile broad­band con­nec­tions with few prob­lems. The user ex­pe­ri­ence is more than ac­cept­able for most ser­vices, in­clud­ing ac­count­ing and pay­roll soft­ware.

You don’t need a fast, un­capped fibre line to use cloud apps. Your ADSL line will do just fine.”

Myth 3: You have to com­mit fully to the cloud or stay off it

Many SMEs think tak­ing ad­van­tage of ser­vices in the cloud means throw­ing out their ex­ist­ing ap­pli­ca­tions and com­mit­ting to a cloud provider. That’s not cor­rect, as you can opt for con­nected ser­vices” that al­low you to move over to the cloud at your own pace.

Con­nected ser­vices of­fer hooks into the cloud so you can ben­e­fit from work­ing on­line while still us­ing a PC soft­ware pack­age.”

Myth 4: It s just about cost sav­ings

The cloud can help you to save money on buy­ing servers and in­stalling soft­ware. It can also al­low you to pay for your soft­ware per month rather than com­mit­ting a big sum up front. Even more im­por­tant, the cloud gives your busi­ness more flex­i­bil­ity, Epstein says.

It al­lows you to buy ap­pli­ca­tions not as a soft­ware suite but as a col­lec­tion of ser­vices. You can buy what you need and in­crease your use of th­ese ser­vices… when you need to.”

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