By Claire West

Figures published this week by Gartner, point towards a 68% growth in the UK SME (small-to-medium enterprise)market, amidst the greatest economic downturn of the decade.

The analysis of over 100 established SMEs that have all virtualised with VMware looked at growth over the last financial year 2011-2012 following the adoption of Cloud based virtualisation technology.

“In our increasingly globalised world, small businesses need an effective communications network to span the geographically dispersed parts of the business. But the business applications required to achieve this are an expensive proposition in our current economic climate.” said leading Cloud Computing blogger and CTO of Commensus, Alex Parker. “With Cloud Computing, instead of running desktops, applications, Microsoft Exchange or a PBX Voice System on physical in-house servers, they are hosted on centralised virtual servers in a data centre.This whole process is instantaneous to setup and effortless to use; you just login, customise and begin. Applications are more scalable, more secure and more reliable as you don’t need a copy of an app for every department using it, just one app which is flexible enough for everyone to customise for their own specific needs.”

The results from this recent study indicate that by utilising Cloud Computing, business can instantly provision applications whenever they need them as the end user directly controls the resources they require, making the firm more agile and flexible. This allows companies striving to adapt to the pace and dynamism of business today to deploy highly resilient virtual machines for their staff, dawning a new era of flexibility.

This agility and flexibility also points towards increased profits with 68% of firms seeing a positive uplift. The study also looks at security and highlights that many IT executives still raised concerns about the security of their data in the Cloud. But the reality is that this is a transitional phase where laggards are yet to grasp the technology. Since all data and applications are centralised in a data centre, it is vastly easier to enable and enforce processes and procedures to ensure security, privacy and other best practices. No data is stored on a device, so you never have to worry about proprietary data falling into the wrong hands if the device itself is lost, stolen or breaks. This is especially significant with potentially gigabytes of sensitive corporate data sitting on the desk of every member of staff.

Parker continued, “Many executives are still hesitant to take the step: their view is that they would no longer be able to ‘touch and feel’ the systems which drive their business. Data centres have been on the scene for three decades or more: Cloud computing is simply a logical progression of that service. There has been little evidence of companies experiencing problems with access to data and with comprehensive service level agreements that specify virtually continuous availability, any remaining concerns should be set aside.”