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I recently read an IDC whitepaper titled “The Growth Opportunity for SMB Cloud and Hybrid Business Continuity,” which stated that 72% of small-to-midsize businesses will make additional investments into the cloud within the next one-to-two years.


These additional investments are due to the recent explosion in data requirements, budgetary constraints, and the need to reduce costs and increase efficiencies.


But this shift from on premise software to the cloud can be seen across a whole range of business functions – everything from email to payroll processing, HR applications and customer relationship management.


So why are small-to-midsize businesses moving to the cloud now?


Why Small-to-Midsize Business Are Moving to the Cloud

When it comes to cloud solutions, IDC found out that there are four things that small-to-midsized businesses are looking for:

    1. A holistic solution, incorporating data protection and recovery as well as replication
    2. A simple solution with minimal infrastructure and operational complexity
    3. Cost efficiency, with reduced capex to fit the mid-sized business budget – capex typically is up to 14% of the overall IT budget
    4. Enterprise-grade features – but without the complexity

IDC’s first reason is one that I have experienced personally, as I have previously spoken with many customers about the benefits of implementing a comprehensive data protection model, including backup and disaster recovery services.


My recommendation is that customers choose a cloud and then deploy a combination of physical, virtual, and cloud-based solutions. Then, by restoring from a local data backup and combining that with a secondary backup in an offsite location, customers can protect themselves from data loss, decreased downtime, and increased agility.


This can help solve the problem of backup and data recovery, which is a major problem for many small-to-midsized businesses.


How Midsized Businesses Are Approaching Backup & Data Recovery

Backup and data recovery is often considered one of the biggest headaches by IT decision-makers at midsized businesses. This is in part due to the fact that mission critical applications make up 10-20% of an average midsized business’s application portfolio.


As a result, midsized businesses are now often inclined to employ disk instead of tape for backup and recovery or shift to backup-as-a-service and recovery-as-a-service models. An alternative to this would be utilizing the cloud for an efficient backup disaster recovery solution, which can also provide the following benefits:

    1. Lower Total Cost of Ownership (TCO)
    2. Ease of Use
    3. Faster Implementation
    4. Leveraging Existing IT (Interoperability)
    5. Lower Energy Consumption
    6. Scalability & Flexibility

Using a cloud-enabled back-up and recovery system gives IT decision-makers peace of mind, ensuring that data and systems are protected, while eliminating the need for on-premise hardware and ongoing software licences.


For the typical midsized business, the attitude towards cloud services is to meet their business imperatives with the right Recovery Service Level Agreement.


With a total of nearly 80 million midsized businesses worldwide looking to increase efficiency and reduce overheads within the business, it seems to me that now is the time for Service Providers and hybrid VAR to capitalise on their growing Business Continuity demands for cloud-based solutions.


Fabienne Machting is an EMEA Midsize Business & Channel Business development at NetApp. Follow her on Twitter or connect with her on LinkedIn.


Looking to learn more about why cloud-integrated storage should be part of your data protection strategy? Download the ESG White Paper, “NetApp Is Accelerating Your Data Protection Strategy to the Clouds.”