“Cloud is about how you do computing, not where you do computing” (Author and former CEO of tech company VMware, Paul Maritz).

“Working in a cloud” favours companies of all sizes, specialising in different trades, and allows them to manage their work according to their own preferences of operations. The “cloud” is simply a server facility.

Smaller businesses looking to adopt cloud computing and digitalising their workload would need to make sure that all members involved in the value chain are properly connected to the internet at times they’d need to perform their duties. However, as South African small businesses become more reliant on the internet – the reality of the three “economic disablers” affecting this country creeps in from time-to-time. These are copper theft, load-shedding and poorer quality internet connectivity.

Small companies looking to adopt cloud computing should be aware of these shortcomings, which are a current reality in the South African economy, and plan around them.

There are digital solutions companies that provide and host cloud computing as a Business-to-Business offering (B2B), for example eNlight Cloud and AWS Cloud Services. However, there are also other software solutions and applications which companies frequently use that have capacity to host cloud computing services without extra charges. For example, Google Workspace gives multiple users the opportunity to work on documents, images, presentations, calendars, sheets and slides, among other things, remotely. All they need is to be granted access through a Gmail account, which is available to the public free of charge.

Working in a cloud has notable benefits, and these include…
  • The availability of data in real-time, without the involvement of the originator of the file/data.
  • Remote working, particularly during the Covid-19 pandemic where social distancing is advised.
  • Businesses are able to save on expenses such as logistical costs.
  • The time used to travel can rather be dedicated to work, which could increase productivity.
The disadvantages associated with cloud computing on the other hand include…
  • South Africa’s digital migration is limited by a lack of computer literacy as discussed here. This is predominantly among the older workforce. This is exacerbated by limited access to digital solutions, with only 52 percent of South Africans using phones and internet regularly, according to a report on the country’s digital divide published by the University of Cape Town.
  • Read Huawei’s article on the lack of proper connectivity in Sub-Sahara Africa, which could disrupt operations/production. There is a low rate of access to the internet in South Africa in general, with only 37 percent of households having regular access to the internet according to the Mail & Guardian.
  • There is an increased risk of sensitive information being accessed by unauthorised individuals.

Don’t get left behind, take professional advice on how cloud computing can benefit your business and save you money on operating expenses.

Disclaimer: The information provided herein should not be used or relied on as professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein. Always contact your professional adviser for specific and detailed advice.

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