The digital age continues to deepen its impact on businesses of every size. Large companies are routinely challenged by smaller, more innovative competitors. Organizations that have dominated their industries for decades risk being displaced virtually overnight by data-powered business models. And the right technology makes all the difference.
For many smaller companies, traditional ways of managing data make it hard to capitalize on the digital transformation. Simply storing large amounts of data locally can be prohibitively expensive, and implementing the tools to make sense of it adds a new layer of challenges.
There is a better way. By moving data and analytics to cloud-based services, you can spend less time focusing on protecting and storing information, and more time making it work to your advantage. Because you have to pay only for what you need and can avoid managing basic infrastructure, cloud services are the ideal small and mid-size businesses technology platform.
There are four basic things you need to consider when building the data foundation of your digital business transformation.
1. Basic data backup
If you’re not backing up your valuable business data because it’s too expensive or complex, you risk losing your key asset in the race to innovation. The cloud makes it relatively easy to back up almost any amount of data, giving you the protection of an enterprise-grade datacenter without the cost or complexity. Microsoft Azure Backup is a powerful, affordable solution that can be simple enough for almost any business to set up and use.
2. Comprehensive data protection
Once you know you have your data backed up securely in the cloud, you should consider how that data is protected throughout your IT solutions. The first step is to make sure you’re running the latest version of Windows on your PCs and devices. For mobile devices, consider a solution such as Microsoft Enterprise Mobility Suite, which lets you manage a wide range of devices from one service and keep personal and corporate data separate. Enabling employees to get work done from more locations without compromising security can be a key competitive advantage.
3. Scalable data storage
Once you’re committed to gathering and using data to advance your digital business, you may find that there’s a lot more of it than you thought. You need a scalable way to store and manage information—one that integrates with analytical tools that help you make smarter decisions. Azure Storage can scale to any amount of data and can work seamlessly with solutions such as PowerBI and Azure HDInsights.
4. Adaptive IT
To capitalize on disruptive trends, you have to be able to move quickly—something traditional approaches to IT are not known for. By consuming core services such as email and productivity through the cloud (as with Office 365) and virtualizing your server-based business applications in Azure, can help your company to be positioned to respond with agility to threats and opportunities.
Being a small and mid-size business doesn’t mean you have to be left out of the digital revolution. In fact, it could be argued that technology and the smart ways you put it to use have a lot more to do with success today. Learn more about the Microsoft cloud platform and how it can help you succeed with new digital business models.
This article original appeared on the Microsoft Business Solutions blog.