By now, most small-to-medium sized business (SMB) owners have heard that cloud computing is transforming the way their peers do business, and they’ve been inundated with talk of how the cloud enables small businesses to cut IT costs and operate more effectively.

But for many small businesses, the cloud is a pretty nebulous idea, and they have a pretty wispy notion of its potential business value.

For example, 54% of SMBs told Wakefield Research—a market research firm– that they’ve never used cloud technology. Of that figure, it was found that roughly 95% of them were already in the cloud and had been for years. They just didn’t recognise it.

The purpose of this guide is to explain cloud computing in layman’s terms. For decision makers who aren’t necessarily technology gurus, any mention of the cloud can sometimes set off a “Stranger Danger” alarm. SMBs often resist change because they fear the risks and costs of investing in new technology and they lack knowledge and support.

We’ve reached a point now where it’s obvious the cloud is here to stay and its economic benefits simply make too much sense to ignore. Since most start-ups and small businesses run with exceptionally strict budgets, bearing the financial brunt of owning, maintaining, and securing their technology may be impossible. Understanding the cloud—what it is, its benefits, its risks, and how to manage those risks—is critical.

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