With the technological advancement of cloud storage, saving a company’s data to a secured lockbox of sorts seemed to be a godsend, since we no longer had to be dependent on accessing our important docs from just one device. For SMBs, it was particularly important for those who worked remotely and needed to review uploads by other staff members.
Not So Picture-Perfect
With most smartphones substituting as our primary cameras, it became clear we could also use the cloud to keep our photos secure. This was particularly important should we lose, misplace or have any of our devices stolen.
However, as time went on, we began to notice how much memory our photos required. And guess what? . . . So did our cloud storage providers. Service such as Apple iCloud, Dropbox, Microsoft OneDrive, and Google Drive soon learned there was money to be made by charging their customers a monthly subscription fee after they exceeded their ‘free limit’ thresholds.
As this breakdown [provided by Laptop Mag] – pricing ranges from $.99 up to almost $200 per month dependent on how many gigabytes of memory you require.
[Based on competition and fluctuations in pricing, always check with your provider as to their current monthly fees.]
Google vs Apple
SciTech’s blogger Alan Cooper has analyzed how Google appears to have gotten the jump on competitor Apple. “The good news is that Google’s just gone and upset the apple cart in favor of cash-strapped consumers,” noted Cooper. Pun intended or not, this might come as hard news for Apple, but Google is definitely distinguishing itself by offering ‘unlimited free’ photo uploads. The only caveat is each photo cannot exceed 16 megapixels and videos cannot be larger than 1080p.
Google Photos seems to have taken the best of all the other cloud services and bundled them together. Available on Android and iOS, their cloud storage displays, organizes and shares your photos in an efficient manner.
Categorizing images by ‘people,’ ‘place,’ and ‘things’ tags, it uses facial recognition, GPS location, GPS location, and even image search capabilities to make searching your photos easier than ever before.
For SMBs, it’s very easy to download and install the app for all staff members. Once operational, they’ll be prompted to start uploading your images to Google’s cloud. If they already have lots of photos, this process may take several hours. But there after, every new picture that is taken will be sent to the cloud automatically and quickly.
This tactical move by Google should place a lot of pressure on Apple’s iCloud to follow suit in the very near future, I suspect.
VoIP Cloud Storage
Aside from photo storage, SMBs who have transitioned from their old POT systems to VoIP telephony can also find ways to cut cloud storage costs. Telzio, for instance offers ‘unlimited’ storage for voicemails, call recording, call logs and even call flows and menus.
Telzio’s chief customer officer, Diana Chu notes, “we have a very unique SaaS subscription model in that we give customers free unlimited users for their phone system. A typical company with 25 employees would spend upwards of $750 per month on their phone bill with the traditional “per-user” pricing, but with Telzio, that cost would be closer to $150.”
To put this in perspective, the way phone companies typically tier their pricing for SMBs is by users: 1-10 users gets X pricing, 11-50 users gets Y pricing, and 51-99 users gets Z pricing. The more users you have the lower rates you’ll receive, and each user gets an “unlimited” amount of calling as long as it’s within the “fair usage” limits.
“With Telzio, pricing is based per phone number, and users can be added at no extra cost. Plans only differ by the amount of free minutes needed, and users share the pool of minutes while any excess usage is charged at a low minute rate that scales as usage increases,” says Chu.
“Telzio’s pricing structure allows businesses to benefit from the true scalability and cost savings that cloud based phone systems can offer. With user-based pricing, businesses pay for more usage than is ever needed. With Telzio, usage scales regardless of the number of individual users on the system,” adds Chu.
Prognostication for SMBs
Since cloud computing has matured, its adoption is no longer being considered by just the larger brands. Today, it’s not a question as why choose the cloud, but when. According to one BizTech estimate, it’s forecasted that nearly 80 percent of U.S. small businesses will have fully adopted cloud technology by 2020.
The current challenges that remain however are migration and integration issues. It’s projected that 59 percent of SMBs think there remains some complexity to integrating cloud workloads with legacy systems. However, the benefits are almost immediate after a decision has been reached, particularly when using cloud services integrate back-office functions such as accounting and human resources. By doing so, small business owners can shift more of their attention to core business needs and less on administrative tasks.
To Cloud or not to Cloud
SMB leaders think that evaluating cloud costs and benefits can be tricky, though. In that same survey, only 25 percent of respondents said they sourced financial models for cloud storage internally, and only 42 percent of those reports ultimately proved accurate. Nearly 30 percent of companies used external reports, rating their accuracy at 55 percent.
These statistics are important as they point to analyzing risks and factoring in some less-than-quantifiable data, such as time recouped by the IT team to focus more on unique business matters, rather than managing and patching productivity systems.
Nonetheless, cloud computing does offer businesses opportunities. The key however is figuring out the best options for one’s specific SMB needs.
Ron is part of the marketing team at Telzio, covering everything from tips and tech for growing businesses to customer success stories for the Telzio blog.