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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 Many fears surrounding the cloud are now out of date.”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.”