The cloud of course has transformed how small businesses in particular now operate. Moving some data storage and key business services to the cloud can be a way for smaller enterprises to remain competitive without the huge cost overhead of upgrading their primary systems.
Says Jon Wrennall, CTO in UK and Ireland at Fujitsu: "In terms of the core infrastructure of an SME business, the ever more pervasive and mature offerings provided by cloud service providers – whether as Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) or Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) – mean SMEs don't need to worry about the hardware and some of the related software.
"There are still some good reasons to keep some of this in-house, but businesses need to carefully consider the pros and cons of each option given the nature and context of the business."
With software, the shift towards a subscription-based ownership model is highly attractive to small businesses in particular. Not having the cost of purchasing new boxed software is a bonus not to be understated. Business owners should, however, pay close attention to the support they will receive and whether they would need additional upgrades – such as networks or servers – to really gain tangible benefits by moving to this model.
"When it comes to Microsoft Office 365 (which we believe is the best choice for most SME businesses who use Microsoft technologies), the SharePoint (file sharing, collaboration and more) aspect of Office 365 is very powerful, but it is not to be seen as a replacement for the traditional SME File Server Shared drive," Andrew Loftus, founder and MD at IT support company Greencorn told TechRadar Pro.
He continued: "Microsoft OneDrive for Business is not yet a complete SME cloud file share solution for many companies based on the way they currently work. This whole area of SME file sharing is something that Microsoft is still developing. They are getting there and I have no doubt we will see improvements and clarification in this area in the short to medium term. All SME businesses should have their email in the cloud – simple fact."
The use of virtualisation has also been gaining pace across the small business community. To avoid server sprawl, using virtualisation can be a great way to upgrade systems for minimal cost, and also have a future upgrade path.
Andrew Loftus further observed: "As a company we will use virtualisation everywhere we can, even if there is no current need, as we never know when things will change. Virtualisation has helped us save clients a significant amount of money, time and disruption. It is one of the best improvements in technology in the past 10 years.
"For example, last year we upgraded a client with a single Windows server requirement which we implemented virtually on a single physical even though there was no clear need to do this. Recently their Windows-based VoIP server running on another server stopped working and started smelling like a barbeque (perfect for summer, not for this client).
"We were able to move the VoIP server to be virtual on the above mentioned server and had the client's phone system up and running in less than a day, which would have been impossible without virtualisation. The question SMEs should ask themselves is 'why should I not virtualise?' not 'why should I virtualise?'"
Current page: Spending and virtualisationPrev Page Introduction and telling signs Next Page 10 key questions
Are you a pro? Subscribe to our newsletter
Sign up to the TechRadar Pro newsletter to get all the top news, opinion, features and guidance your business needs to succeed!