The cloud has unique benefits for small businesses, which can take advantage of remote infrastructure management or outsourced helpdesk services to keep pace with much larger competitors. Moreover, cloud technologies contribute to productivity gains without incurring the significant expenses that would accompany the hiring of new personnel or upgrades to on-premises equipment.

SMBs can use the cloud to replace complex infrastructure
In the past, businesses of all sizes needed to build and refine IT infrastructure as they grew. Investing in hardware, software and IT personnel was a costly but necessary process through which companies created custom infrastructure suited to their respective needs.

However, after the rise of software-as-a-service and similar offerings supported by large data centers, SMBs no longer had to build and manage their own IT infrastructure. Instead, companies can now attain the same high level of performance and flexibility from a managed IT service provider.

A post at WhaTech examined some of the most compelling reasons for SMBs to outsource IT services to the cloud, including:

  • Around-the-clock access to services: Providers use redundant infrastructure to ensure that cloud-delivered solutions, like help desk operations, are always available
  • Less risk: Managed service providers handle applications and endpoints with care and protect them from threats. Additionally, moving assets to the cloud means that a hardware failure won't necessarily jeopardize business continuity
  • Ease-of-use: Many cloud solutions are easy to set up, giving them a decisive advantage over legacy networks that may be costly and difficult to manage

While some large enterprises may retain on-site data centers for control and compliance reasons, SMBs have clear reasons to migrate assets to the cloud right away.

"[U]nless there is compelling value in the build option, create a long term infrastructure strategy to rationalize applications on standardized architectures (commodity or proprietary) that are purchased as end-to-end solutions from a single vendor, a managed service from a managed service provider or infrastructure as a service from a cloud provider," said IBRS research analyst Kevin McIsaac, according to WhaTech.

Business owners see benefits of IT outsourcing
IT outsourcing may have another positive effect on SMBs: greater workplace flexibility. The Guardian's Jon Card recently examined how the cloud has led some executives to ditch formal offices altogether. Thanks to mobile devices and help from providers, businesses can thrive with fewer physical assets while saving money and maintaining a high level of service.

"As a business owner I'd rather spend more on my staff and my customers than on my IT support and a traditional office set up, so the cost savings are critical," Babes with Babies founder Sophie Devonshire told The Guardian.