Choosing the right cloud services for your SMB

cloud applications
Not a real cloud

BCSG is a cloud service provider who works with large brands to offer a distinctive, beneficial services to small businesses through their cloud-based platform.

A recent example is BCSG's announcement that it is supporting EE's Business Apps offering for small and medium business customers. EE has selected the apps to address a range of key business needs, and the apps cover areas such as managing finances, engaging customers and web publishing, and tools that help with productivity such as Office 365 and Sage One Accounts and Payroll.

We caught up with BCSG's managing director John Davis to find out how such services can benefit SMBs.

TechRadar Pro: So why should SMBs use these particular business apps?

John Davis: The apps offered through the marketplace are designed specifically for small businesses, and most importantly they offer flexibility as they can be accessed anywhere, anytime. They are simple to use and do not require an IT manager to install, set-up and maintain them. Furthermore, the apps will grow over time with the business, meaning additional users can easily be added or removed with minimal hassle.

TRP: What process do you go through in creating an app package?

JD: We work in partnership with the large brands like EE to identify the right apps to offer their customers. The apps need to address the key needs that small businesses have and the challenges they face. As any business owner knows, this ranges from managing finances to finding new customers, all of which are time consuming and cause headaches for small businesses, this is where the apps step in.

They are chosen for their ease of use so that, no matter what their tech competency, the business should easily be able to use the apps with no trouble or complications.

TRP: How can businesses ensure that their employees are at ease with using the apps?

JD: What is important here is the level of support that is offered along with the apps. BCSG's dedicated customer service team offers an unlimited amount of assistance via email, telephone and web-based chat. Business owners also need to ensure that their employees are educated on how to make the most of the apps that they have chosen, including increased flexibly and productively.

TRP: What are the disadvantages or costs of using a cloud system?

Because the apps are cloud based, the data isn't stored on your desktop or device, meaning that if there is no internet connection then your data cannot be accessed. Another concern of data being stored remotely is security, these concerns are heightened due to the amount online security has been in the news recently.

However, there is an advantage to data being stored remotely, if for example your device is lost, stolen or crashes you will still be able to access all of your data that is stored in the cloud. Cost wise, the customer is charged on a monthly basis, however this does means there aren't any large upfront costs and the business gets access to all application updates as soon as they are released.

Desire Athow
Managing Editor, TechRadar Pro

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website builders and web hosting when DHTML and frames were in vogue and started narrating about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium.