How cloud computing can help UK SMEs transition to long-term remote working

In March this year, many SME’s in the UK made an unprecedented shift to remote working and had to adjust their critical infrastructure as a result. While as many as 1.7 million people in the UK primarily worked from home at the start of the year, many businesses were unequipped to operate outside of the office - particularly those in the financial, public admin and education sectors.

For organisations who are hoping to transition to remote working in the long term, iomart explains why utilising cloud computing is essential to ensure scalability, security and adaptability moving forward.

What is cloud computing?

Cloud computing is the delivery of computing services - including storage, databases, applications, networking and software - over the internet. This means that instead of small businesses operating their own expensive computing infrastructure or data centres, they can hire access to any computing solutions they need from a cloud service provider.

The main attribute of cloud computing and how it differs from an on-premises IT infrastructure is that it is not reliant on location. This allows businesses to store and retrieve their corporate data and computing services via a secure internet connection, meaning nothing is stored on-premises and is accessible from any location, on any authorised device, and at any time.

For businesses who rely on computing services to operate - whether it’s to handle consumer services, back-up data or run critical business systems - remote cloud computing solutions like a private cloud have many benefits.

What is a private cloud?

As a single-tenant environment, a private cloud delivers computing services through a proprietary architecture, meaning it’s tailored to the needs of a specific organisation. It can be based on the infrastructure that’s already utilised by an SME’s on-premises data centre, or in a separate infrastructure that’s managed by a third-party service provider.

A private cloud is one of three models for cloud deployment: public, private and hybrid. While all three models share similar aspects of cloud infrastructure, a private cloud is used exclusively by one business or organisation, and all services are maintained in a private central environment dedicated solely to the user.

What are the benefits of a private cloud?

The main advantages of a private cloud are security, scalability and flexibility, as it allows businesses to tailor their IT infrastructure to suit their individual needs and goals, while keeping data private and secure. Generally, cloud computing on the whole represents a significant shift from the traditional way organisations handle their IT resources. Here are some benefits of a private cloud for SMEs:

Security and privacy. Private clouds are commonly used by businesses in the financial industry or government sector due to their improved level of security. All data is managed on servers that are private to a company, and can be accessed by authorised users only. An internal IT team can access company-critical data through highly secure networks instead of an unsecured internet connection.

Scalability and control.There is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to cloud computing. This allows businesses to scale their private cloud to suit their requirements, whether it’s hosted on-site or in a third-party data centre. Businesses have more control over their data, allowing them to make any changes quickly and efficiently, while able to scale up or down their infrastructure as needed.

Continuity and accessibility. An appropriately qualified Managed Service Provider can create solutions which encompass Network Security, Compute, Storage, Backup and Disaster Recovery elements, all wrapped up in secure data centres with highly resilient networks. These solutions can then provide the peace of mind that your internal IT team, reassuring them that their users and customers can access their services securely without fear of interruption.

Does my business need a private cloud?

If your organisation is planning to operate remotely across multiple locations for the foreseeable future or you handle a breadth of confidential data, a private cloud can help you get enhanced control over your working environment. Ultimately, there are many cloud deployment options that may be suited to your organisation’s needs, each capable of supporting your company across the new working landscape. To find out more about a private cloud and how it can help your SME remain operational over the coming months, please visit

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