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How Off-Premise Computing Can Provide Big Enterprise Benefits to Small and Mid-Sized Businesses

A paradigm shift is taking place: New service delivery options and the increasing popularity of cloud services are blurring the borders between large and mid-sized companies, and forward-thinking businesses are leveling the playing field with their larger rivals. Today, even the smallest businesses are able to use technologies that were previously only available to the biggest firms - such as remote data replication, failover datacenters, and centralized backup - and create flexible IT infrastructures.


One solution that is rapidly gaining market acceptance is "Infrastructure-as-a-Service" (IaaS), with which small and mid-sized businesses (SMBs) can gain the security and backup they need to keep their operations running smoothly by outsourcing some or all of their infrastructure operations. In other words, they can operate their whole infrastructure on a pay-as-you-go basis. This is a radical idea in a way, but in reality it is no different than the way we buy commodities like electricity and telephone: as a service.

As the pace of change has accelerated over the last 12 months, economic realities have shifted to further squeeze IT budgets and at the same time increase the pressure to ensure that downtime is eliminated. Fortunately, affordable options for handing over the management of entire IT networks - from the desktop PC through to high-end server and storage, and the maintenance - give SMBs greater flexibility and the ability to scale up for large projects much more quickly, and to rapidly scale down when necessary. This is a practice called "Smart Sourcing."

Consider the services we already receive via a plug in the wall-electricity, telephone and Internet. Any other approach - for example, running your own telephone cables - would be unthinkable. It's time to apply this same logic to computing services: Why not source the services from someone who is much more experienced with it, and do so in a "smart" way to benefit most?

There's no discernible difference for the user, who still has a keyboard, mouse and monitor. It's just that everything else is not physically located on your desk but in a data center. The problems of hardware refresh can immediately be eliminated, as there's no need for large capital expenditure upfront to purchase the equipment and then watch it depreciate in value - you just pay for the service you use, when you need it.


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