In these digital times, every SMB needs a digital presence – it could be as simple as a corporate website and could go all the way to a multi-app CRM and back-office management solution.
Regardless of the business model of the SMB and the technical requirements of the business, you would find that all SMB have a common operational requirement – hosting for the business applications.
Since hosting is such a huge requirement, the market offers a range of solutions, including shared hosting to dedicated cloud hosting. In fact, the market offers a hosting solution that fits all budgets and operational scenarios. However, cloud hosting offers the best mix of cost and features to SMB.
Even when the SMBs know that cloud hosting offers the best option for their business operations, the reality is that not all SMBs can leverage the benefits of cloud hosting for three major reasons:
The Lack of Technical Knowledge (and Time)
Not every business owner has the right knowledge and expertise to take care of cloud servers. In fact, look at any social media platform and you can see posts advertising the openings for technical co-founders, CTO, and people of related skill sets who have the understanding and exposure to cloud hosting.
In rare cases where the business owners do have the right skills, they are too preoccupied with tackling business challenges and could not spare time to take care of the technical aspect of managing servers and applications.
The Cost of Managing Cloud Servers
Cloud servers require a lot of expertise for sustained trouble-free operation. That means hiring a systems administrator (sysadmin for short) and a support staff. This is way out of the budget of many SMB. In addition, cloud servers require several licensed and unlicensed software to be useful for the organization. Overall, SMB generally finds that a cloud server costs more than the budgeted amount.
An important operation cost is the security of the server and the deployed applications. At the minimum, this requires the SMB to set up and maintain firewalls that filter out the malicious traffic. To maintain a fully secure cloud server, the SMB needs to be proactive and deploy patches as soon as released by the vendors.
Disaster Management and Recovery
In case of a disaster, the website and associated online infrastructure of applications go down. Every minute of this downtime costs the SMB money that is taken out of the profit margins. Recovering from the disaster and bringing the websites and applications back online require expertise and time that SMB could not afford.
The Idea of Managed Cloud Hosting
As you can see, the cloud servers provide the best mix of features and price for all SMB use cases. However, the challenge of managing cloud servers can really become a roadblock for the SMB, and many businesses opt for shared hosting solutions that cost less but have severe performance limitations.
In this context, SMB could leverage managed cloud hosting solutions such as Cloudways that take away all the hassles of managing cloud servers and allow SMB to take full benefit of these solutions without any issues.
When SMB opt for Cloudways, they only have to worry about how their preferred applications fit into their business processes. To help SMB in this, Cloudways takes over server management and ensures a high-performing environment for their corporate websites, applications, and ecommerce stores.
In practical terms, Cloudways abstracts all server-level details and the customers only see a simple platform that provides a solid foundation for their business websites and applications.
How Cloudways Adds Value to SMB
Since Cloudways is a managed platform, all its features and add-ons are built to facilitate business processes and provide a high-performance platform for online businesses. While you should definitely check out the Cloudways Features page, here are several Platform features and processes that add value for SMB.
Five Cloud Providers and Unlimited Apps
Cludways offers the choice of five industry-leading infrastructure providers (AWS, GCE, DigitalOcean, Linode, and Vultr) because of the varying performance requirements and budgetary constraints.
An important benefit of this choice is the availability of 60+ data centers where SMB could host their business applications. This reduces the issue of latency for the main audience and the visitors can have a great experience. This enhances the impact of Cloudways as the ideal SMB hosting solution regardless of niche and industry.
To further add to the ease, users can host as many PHP powered applications they require on their Cloudways managed cloud servers. The only limitation is the server specifications (that can always be upgraded to accommodate more applications and performance requirements).
Since many SMB owners are not technically well versed and need help in resolving many day-to-day issues. However, Cloudways understands this limitation and offers world-class support through multiple channels (email, live chat, and support tickets) that customers can use to get in touch with the 24/7/365 Cloudways Support.
Several SMB require a closer relationship with the Cloudways Support because they do not wish to get entangled in the server issue resolution. For this, Cloudways offers Advanced and Premium Add-ons that offer shorter turnaround time and closer support through Slack channel and telephone.
Pay-as-you-go (PAYG) is a billing model where customers only have to pay for the resources they consume during a billing cycle. As a result, there are no fixed amounts and no lock-in contracts that could be an undue burden on SMB budgets during the “dry” sales spells.
One of the most important Cloudways services that SMB leverage for sustained operations is managed backups where the Cloudways Platform takes care of taking backups as per the schedule authorized by the customer. When deciding the schedule, the customers can set the frequency and the retention period for servers and/or applications.
Now there are cases when the customer wants to backup application and server data outside of the backup schedule. In such cases, the customer can take an on-demand backup anytime they require.
New tools and products pop up all the time and SMB owners try to discover the best set of tools for their businesses.
The problem with emerging tools is that the SMB owners have no way of knowing whether the tool would work seamlessly with the existing application. This means that an untried tool or application could potentially bring down the main business websites and storefronts.
Cloudways offers isolated staging areas where SMB owners can test the integration and performance of the tools without breaking the live websites. When the testing proves that the tool is working perfectly with the existing ecosystem, the integration could be “pushed” to the live website.
Finally, security is another important area where Cloudways adds considerable value to the SMB business processes. Security is an ongoing requirement and requires a lot of attention.
Cloudways takes over the security of the cloud servers and deploys all the measures to protect the servers from cyber threats. In addition to Platform level firewalls, the Cloudways team applies patches to the stack components to make sure the business websites are secured against cyber threats Similarly, all Cloudways user accounts are protected by two-factor authentication, which adds an additional security layer to all accounts.. Customers can also allow (or disallow) specific IP addresses to access their servers.
Cloudways is a perfect solution for many issues that SMB faces during business operations. The Platform offers several tools that SMB could leverage for simplifying business requirements when it comes to hosting and server management. In many cases, Cloudways takes over the hosting hassles and frees up SMB resources that could be diverted to operations and promotions.
Owais Khan works as a Marketing Manager at Cloudways (a managed hosting platform), where he focuses on growth, demand generation, and strategic partnerships. With more than a decade of experience in digital marketing and B2B, Owais prefers to build systems that help teams achieve their full potential and deliver ROI that often exceeds the targets.