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Why the cloud makes colocation a top priority for SMEs

With four-in-five UK organisations now relying on the cloud to some extent, the business landscape has shifted dramatically. With access to the public cloud’s agility, reach and cost-savings, SMEs are rapidly accelerating growth and innovation, levelling the playing field against the traditional bullies in the schoolyard: larger, established organisations with more money, people and infrastructure.

Taking on Goliath

Historically, SMEs have always faced an uphill struggle - even if they have a solid business plan and a stellar product or service. Starting with limited funds, a skeleton crew and no established customer base, it’s not surprising that half of UK start-ups fail within their first five years.

However, the rise of cloud computing is smashing through many of these business roadblocks. With little or no upfront capital investment, SMEs now have immediate access to all-they-can-eat IT capabilities that seamlessly flex and scale with their needs. Not only is the infrastructure there to support rapid business growth, SMEs are also free to pour their money and manpower into projects that accelerate it.

The smaller a business is, the greater the impact of the cloud’s flexibility, reach and cost-savings. While major enterprises must sweat existing assets and yesterday’s infrastructure investments, SMEs have the agility to leap straight into the cloud with household names like Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services‎ or IBM SoftLayer, allowing them to steal a march on larger competitors.

Beyond infrastructure, the cloud also unleashes unprecedented access to powerful applications and the revolutionary potential of big data analytics. From enterprise resource planning (ERP) to customer relationship management (CRM), formidable business tools - once the purview of only the largest organisations - can be accessed on-demand in the cloud. Today, 64% of SMEs are using cloud-based software, with an average of three applications per business.

Meanwhile, harnessing data analytics lets SMEs outfox the competition with business insights that empower employees and amaze customers. Those using analytics are 5x more likely to make faster decisions and 3x more likely to execute on decisions as intended, so it’s no surprise that SME big data adoption has a 43% compound annual growth rate.

From streamlining operations to driving slicker services, the cloud is empowering SMEs to change the business status quo – but that doesn’t mean there aren’t any challenges.

Cloud connectivity really matters

Most SMEs can’t rely entirely on the public cloud due to the need to safeguard sensitive data, adhere to compliance requirements, or ensure the service performance their customers demand. That’s why hybrid approaches to IT infrastructure have become increasingly popular: combining the security and performance of on-premise facilities with the public cloud’s agility and cost-savings.

With a hybrid approach, SMEs can run applications and workloads on the public or private infrastructure that suits them best. All this make sense, but if SMEs are to capitalise on hybrid strategies, they need to consider the connectivity between private infrastructure and the cloud carefully. No business wants to be left at the mercy of spikes in demand on the public Internet, where performance and security issues can arise without warning.

Fortunately, the major cloud providers have made significant investments in private connection services, such as Microsoft ExpressRoute and AWS Direct Access, that bypass the public Internet. The question for SMEs then is: how can I connect to these services most effectively?

Colocation and the cloud

When it comes to helping SMEs unleash the power of a hybrid IT strategy, colocation kills not two, but three birds at once.

Firstly, compared to designing and building private infrastructure on-site, colocation can slash upfront IT investments. Second, it ensures a well-run, resilient and secure environment backed up by strict SLAs for performance and availability – perfect for SMEs with minimal or no IT staff. The best colocation providers will even work hard to understand a SME’s needs and provide trusted advice on the right infrastructure strategy.

Finally – and most importantly - colocation offers unbeatable cloud connectivity. Many facilities house private access points to the most popular cloud platforms; by colocating, SMEs can place their private IT infrastructure right on the cloud’s doorstep - maximising performance, security and agility.

That’s why Interxion has built its Cloud Connect service. Available now, the service allows organisations to build and manage private VLAN links to multiple clouds through a single, secure connection – all with rapid provisioning, no duplicate charges on data and unbeatable SLAs guaranteeing 99.999% availability.

For any SME looking to ignite growth and drive competitiveness, exploring the potential of colocated hybrid cloud should be a top priority.

To learn more about how to get ahead in the cloud with Interxion’s Cloud Connect service and choose the right infrastructure for the future, contact us to set up a meeting with one of our networking specialists or click here.