Ultimate Cloud Guide for Small Business

In our ultimate Cloud guide for small business we go through all the things you will need to know about, questions you will need to ask your IT provider, and questions your IT provider will ask you.

It doesn’t matter if you own a small accountancy firm or if you manage a large media agency. Moving to the Cloud is the best option for small businesses and most organizations now employ some form of cloud computing.

We have created this guide from our experiences with clients around the UK over the years.

Along with a range of other IT solutions, making sure that you have secure and always accessible data is critical.

Guide Contents:

Let’s begin!

Have a cup of tea and get comfortable. This guide includes everything. You may even want to bookmark it for future reference!


Some of the latest stats about UK SME's


What is Cloud Computing?

Everybody is moving to the cloud! Cloud computing is the broad term for all the various types of cloud solutions.

There are lots of ways that cloud computing benefits small businesses, whether you are a micro, small or medium size business. The most common reason to move to the cloud is to be able to securely store and access business data. However, as the cloud computing sector grows, cloud backup, hosting, along with SaaS, IaaS and PasS are becoming more mainstream.

Today you can store, access and backup data, run software applications, and streamline how your business information is shared – all from the cloud.

Cloud storage or cloud computing is simply storing, processing and managing your data through a remote server. Instead of storing your files on your own computer or on an in-house server, it is all stored in ‘the cloud’ making it accessible from anywhere at any time.

This means businesses can access important programs and data stored on a remote server as long as they have a working internet connection. Whether you or your staff are on their computers, tablets, or mobile phones – or in the office, out in the field, or on the road.

The main business cloud services providers (IaaS) are Amazon AWS, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud. Other popular cloud providers are IBM Cloud, Oracle Cloud Infrastructure and Digital Ocean.

Microsoft 365 (SaaS) is a popular solution for small businesses, along with an Anti-Spam and Cloud Backups. Synology Cloud for backups, BitDefender GravityZone for endpoint security (cloud managed Anti-Virus), We regularly help clients with these to ensure smoothness of their day to day tasks and to fortify their disaster recovery setup.

Planing your small business cloud strategy

It is very likely that you are already using some form of cloud computing in your daily operations. For example if you are sharing and storing files on Dropbox or OneDrive, or if you are using Sales, Marketing, HR or customer relations tools. These are all cloud services.

To get the best results in the cloud, you need to plan carefully. Your cloud strategy should be an in-depth look at what it is you need, why you need it and for how long.

Successful cloud implementation means highlighting all your business procedures and assessing whether they can be improved by using the cloud.

This means taking a closer look at your current systems, technologies and processes that are being used by your business or organisation. This way you can determine which are the most important tools and which of these can increase your productivity.

Which services will you move to the cloud? See if it makes sense to move particular services and procedures to the cloud.

Decide whether to use cloud services from a public cloud provider or build or maintain capabilities on-premises or elsewhere.

Does your business need to use private or public cloud, or a combination of both?

Can you build your own private cloud to a bespoke specification that will meet the needs of your business or is it better to take advantage of a managed cloud solution?

Types of services and solutions that can move to the cloud by sector


  • Website
  • CRM
  • Email
  • Orders


  • Storage
  • Design Apps
  • Publishing Apps
  • Email


  • Design Apps
  • Video Apps
  • Storage


  • Website
  • CRM
  • Email
  • Client Apps


  • Intranet
  • Payroll
  • Email


  • CRS
  • Website
  • Email
  • Storage

Businesses that need to centralise data from staff working on the go, (like an estate agent) need to manage client bookings from any device.

A real estate agency can take advantage of the cloud by creating and installing custom tools to track commercial and residential deals. It can also use it to store clients and deals related data as well as keeping track of the properties, their history and their actual status.

On the other hand, recruitment agencies can enjoy the perks by using a large set of cloud software to empower the HR and to enhance the talent acquisition with various options of Cloud Recruitment Software.

Accountancy firms can also increase their efficiency by spending less time on administrative tasks like data entry or looking for files.

With your list of services finalised, you will know which ones will deliver a good ROI if they are moved to the cloud or integrated with a cloud solution.

Once you have your strategy in place you can move on to cloud implementation.

The questions will help your provider understand the scope of cloud solutions you need.

Important questions you will be asked by your IT provider

  • How much data does your business need to back up on average?
  • What type of information and data do you need to back up?
  • What level of security and compliance is required for your business data?

Be prepared and have a cloud budget from the start.

The cost of cloud computing will depend on the type of cloud services your business needs. With the large amount of options available on the market today, it can be a real challenge to find the ones that are right for your company. Take a closer look at which services are worth paying for and which ones you can cut from your budget.

The number of staff (or users) you have, what kind of features, apps and tools do you need, and how much support do you want.

Cloud-based software pricing varies depending on the business sector and industry requirements. Contributing factors include the number of users, how you launch and distribute the software to your team, as well as any additional tech-support options.

3 Things to consider to allocate cloud cost for a small business

The three main things to assess are storage, recovery and apps.

Investing in cloud data storage is an excellent option to keep your data safe and reduce used space within your network. Your information is secure in the cloud, and most of cloud storage providers perform regular backups. Investing in a cloud storage solution can save you time in the future. It is not necessary to invest in a huge or expensive plan, as a small business a bespoke 1TB plan can work perfectly fine.
Your system is not invulnerable, so you have to be ready for attacks, however unlikely they may seem. Investing in a disaster recovery plan is a must, mixed with advanced storage and backup strategies. In case of a technical disaster or if your business is compromised, you can activate your recovery process and keep your business running smoothly. It is demonstrated that 60% of all companies that suffer a data breach are forced into bankruptcy within six months.
As a small business owner, you need apps that help you manage your business easily. Here come the cloud based apps to the rescue. There are several free options for startups like Slack to keep communications with your team, Trello to follow up tasks or Google Calendars to make appointments. There are also subscription-based low budget options like Microsoft 365 or Zoom.

Calculating cloud costs over time

As with most IT and tech investments, there are various pricing models, from one-off payments or subscriptions to pay-as-you-go.

For example, IaaS is mostly hardware costs, so the price tends to decrease over time. IaaS is mainly a pay-as-you-go model so you don’t get tied into a lengthy contract.

SaaS for applications are usually subscription-based pricing models. This can be cost-efficient and convenient but could grow over time, with more users or features added.

The cloud computing industry is constantly evolving according to user demands. Most offer a free version, so you can try them out and compare before you decide which service to invest into.

As your business grows, you may want to add more features. This may be more storage, extra performance or added features. So, it is a good idea to explore all your options and prepare your budget for any unexpected additions.

Keep cloud costs under control

The cloud can be a cost-effective solution for most businesses, but it is important to have a clear strategy from the start and to keep an eye for any changes. Most small businesses and start-ups will choose well known public cloud providers such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Cloud and Microsoft Azure. The IT infrastructure is maintained by the vendor and you will be charged per-user and usage.

This is where you need to figure out if you will be needing to increase your usage over time, as you grow. Take into consideration these potential increased costs and pay attention to the hidden costs (e.g. transfer in, transfer out, long storage, etc.)

Discuss ways you can reduce additional spend with your IT provider. They should be able to outline some solutions, whether it will be adjusting server activity or simply turning things off when you don't need them.

The right cloud storage solution for your business. Many businesses rely on cloud storage today as it offers greater flexibility and can significantly reduce costs. Cloud solutions can be scaled to the size and needs of your business.

Cloud storage or cloud computing dealss with storing, processing and managing your data on a remote server.

This means that all your files and data will be stored in the cloud, and not only locally on your computer.

Instead of storing your files on your own local computer or on an in-house server, it is all securely stored in ‘the cloud’ making it accessible from anywhere at any time.

Public, private or hybrid which solution is best for small business.

Your next step to your cloud storage solutions plan is to decide how you want to ‘deploy the cloud within your small business’. This simply means how you will store and access data. Depending on your business sector and company size, it will determine which type of service you need.

There are three main ways that cloud services store their data and host services - they are public, private and hybrid cloud.

Some of our clients here at HelpDesk Heroes use only private cloud solutions to run their businesses. But typically we suggest hybrid solutions. In fact, for several business cases, we highly recommend the use of hybrid cloud solutions to optimize the company’s expenses. This approach has the unprecedented ability to bring together all the benefits of both public and private cloud. For instance, you can keep your servers securely running in your private cloud while taking advantage of the cheap archiving services of public cloud providers for your non-critical data.


Public Cloud solutions

Public cloud, is one of the most reputable types of of cloud computing. It’s when users take advantage of the resources provided by a third party cloud service provider such as AWS, Azure, Google Cloud,etc.

The public cloud option gives you everything from infrastructure resources such as servers and storage to the security and maintenance of your cloud system. Since it is managed by a third party company specializing in cloud services for a range of customers, a public cloud system is great for organizations that want more flexibility, cost-effectiveness and scalability in addition to the ability to take advantage of the latest releases of various technologies.

Depending on the needs of the customer, they can select the resources on which the tasks will run. For instance, a system administrator who wants to configure a sophisticated application can take advantage of an Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) which contains cloud servers (EC2 instances on AWS for example) and can also utilise simple storage units as well (S3 on AWS for example). However, a developer who doesn’t have a huge knowledge about system administration can make good use of a Platform as s a Service (PaaS) which provides a platform for development with a pre-installed operating system and software prerequisites.

Companies such as AWS, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud are good examples of public cloud computing services.

When to Use Public Cloud

Public cloud is excellent for startups. It enables small business owners and enthustistic ones to kickstart their projects at a small scale and at a very low budget.

It's also very beneficial for team software development and other collaborative projects. Projects can be tested on the public cloud and moved to the private cloud for production. Cloud providers usually include computing resources as part of their plans.

Public cloud can go from a completely virtualized infrastructure giving you just processing power and storage that you can exploit to build your applications (IaaS: Infrastructure as a Service) to specialised software programs which are ready to use (SaaS: Software as a Service).


  • High scalability
  • Possible cost saving plans
  • Shared responsibility in security and resource Management
  • Cost reduction by paying only for the OpEX
  • Disaster Recovery Plans over Countries and Continents is possible
  • Reliability and flexibility
  • The possibility to have a technical support from the service cloud provider
  • It’s possible to migrate easily from one region (UK for example) to another region (US for example) or to duplicate business infrastructure for a better user experience.


  • It’s not possible to have direct and physical access to resources (servers, storage)
  • Security is a critical topic: Your data is hosted on someone else’s datacenter.
  • Requires a good knowledge of cloud resource management.
  • Can become a nightmare in cases of bad management.
  • Requires an expert to create the optimal architecture for your business.

Private Cloud Solutions

A private cloud gives you complete control of all your cloud resources. A company that needs its own private resources can build its own private cloud at its headquarters. It becomes the single-tenant of the organization’s IT environment. Thus it doesn’t share its resources with other users and it relies only on the headquarter’s capacity to build its solutions.

This gives you access to a dedicated environment, where you can control access for you and your team.

Your team will be able to access, utilize and store data in your private cloud also from anywhere if necessary, just as in a public cloud. The big difference is that no one can have a physical access to these resources except for your team.

Among the many benefits of a private cloud is not being at risk of any sudden interruptions or changes by a third party, that can ultimately disturb the functionalities of your websites or disrupt your company’s entire infrastructure.

This may be the preferred solution for businesses with a required set of compliances and very strict regulatory requirements such as banks.

That being said, private clouds are increasingy used in many sectors, especially those related to financial discretion, healthcare or governmental sectors with secret data and classified files, etc.

OpenStack is a good example of open source cloud operating system that is largely used by companies to build their own public cloud infrastructures throughout their own datacenters

When to Use Private Cloud

A private cloud solution is an excellent choice for businesses when they need a high level of security and when they have critical data that should never leave the headquarters.

Having a private cloud can be more expensive than shared cloud solutions. It is your own dedicated space, so you have to maintain it. This means keeping up with all the software and infrastructure. If you need to scale up, (or down) add hardware or more storage, this will need to be done in-house or with an outsourced IT provider.


  • High Level of Security can be reached
  • A good performance while accessing the headquarters’ resources locally
  • It’s possible to have direct and physical access to resources
  • Your data can never leave your headquarters


  • Not easily scalable
  • High Availability is not easy to implement
  • Expensive because of paying for the CapEX and the OpEX
  • Time and Resource Consumption
  • Maintenance
  • Deployment and Support

Hybrid Cloud solutions

A hybrid cloud solution, as the name suggests uses both private and public clouds.

With a hybrid solution, your own IT department manages part of the cloud and the rest is managed off-site.

This combination is designed in a way that both platforms can interact without problems, and data and apps run easily from one to another.

Hybrid cloud has two types of architecture:

The first one is known as Cloud burst where you use private cloud as primary cloud for store and run all your apps from a secure environment. But when the demand increases, you can start using public cloud, so you won’t have to invest in new servers or infrastructure.

A hybrid multi-cloud approach can offer optimal visibility, flexibility and customer service, as well as financial efficiency. It may involve consolidating systems and migrating data.The difficulty of this task depends on the cloud provider. Many small cloud and SaaS providers are recognising the huge sales potential of easy migration.

When to Use Hybrid Cloud

A Hybrid cloud solution is an excellent choice for businesses that need to combine the advantages of both private cloud and public cloud .

For example, a bank needs to keep all the critical data related to clients highly secure (such as the credit card credentials and login to bank account credentials). However, this bank needs to archive all the non-critical data of the previous 10 years related to accounting, employees vacations and bank social activities, etc as a requirement of compliance. The bank can take advantage of the public cloud cheap storage to archive 10 years of non-critical data. At the same time, it can keep the critical data in the headquarters by using it only on the private cloud.

Furthermore, a hybrid cloud system is perfect for a business that needs to manage business-related data (such as customer files) in house but wants to store less-sensitive information with a third party.


    • Not always easy to Implement
    • Capital Expenditure CapEx and (Operational Expenditure) OpEx
    • Security Concerns due to 3rd Party Involvement
    • Compatibility and Data Integration
    • Visibility

    A more cost-effective model for large and growing organisations is the multi-cloud model, which combines services from many public cloud providers and may include private clouds as well. Hosted software as a service (SaaS) products can be part of a multi-cloud model, too. According to the Nutanix study, multi-cloud is now the most commonly deployed IT environment, with adoption expected to jump from 36% to 64% in the next three years.

Cloud service models

As we mentioned earlier, the most common reason to move to the cloud is to be able to securely store and access business data. As the cloud computing sector grows, cloud backup, hosting, along with SaaS, IaaS are becoming more mainstream. There are, however, an ever-increasing number of digital tools for businesses.

Once you have decided which model fits your business the best, then you need to choose how you want to manage each one of them.

Types of cloud services


Backup as a Service (BaaS)

Backup as a service (BaaS) is when you buy backup and recovery services from an online data backup provider. Instead of performing backup on you computer or with your in house IT department.

BaaS connects systems to a private, public or hybrid cloud. It is a way to securely store all of your business digital data. Data is backed up to remote storage units, which are located in offsite data centers that are climate controlled, with alternate power supplies and 24/7/365 system security maintenance and monitoring.

Examples of BaaS solutions providers

Acronis, Barracuda, Synology, Wasabi, Carbonite, MozyEnterprise, SOS Online Backup, Vembu and Zetta.net.

When to Use BaaS

With BaaS, you will have an efficient way to access and restore your data.

BaaS can be the best option for;

  • Startups or small companies
  • Short-term large storage option
  • Datasets that aren’t critical and which need huge storage capacity
  • Archiving data for a long period

Benefits of Backup as a Service

  • BaaS can be configured as automated. It’s not necessary to keep a close track on the backups. You just have to schedule the backups and tag the information that you need to save.
  • Data is secure from attacks and disasters. BaaS providers offer data encryption.
  • BaaS is affordable for small business, you don’t have to invest in servers, nor SSD or tapes. Your information can be safe under a professional IT team.

Infrastructure as a Service

Infrastructure as a Service is when your cloud service provider manages your infrastructure for you. This mean your entire “hardware” infrastructure (hard drive disk, servers, etc) will be virtual.

Your employees can connect to your virtual infrastructure by using a CLI or a cloud management console, so this is a great option for “bring your own device” policies because it offers security to your information and network. Also it can be good for companies that handle sensitive data.

The cloud service provider takes care of the compute resources that you will use (Servers, storage units, networking equipements) in addition to the cooling system of the datacenter and the redundant power supply.

Examples of IaaS solutions providers

  • Amazon Web Services: Servers (EC2 Instances), Storage (S3, EBS)
  • Microsoft Azure: Azure Virtual Machine
  • DigitalOcean: Servers (Droplets)

When to Use IaaS

IaaS is a great tool for companies with telecommuters or “bring your own device” policies because it offers a secure platform that can be accessed on any Internet connected device. It also a great tool for companies with lots of sensitive data. For example, medical offices and healthcare analytics companies will often use specialized Virtual Desktop software to better meet strict HIPPA guidelines.

Just as with SaaS and PaaS, there are specific situations when IaaS is most advantageous.

  • Startups and small companies may prefer IaaS to avoid spending time and money on purchasing and building hardware.
  • Larger companies may prefer to retain complete control over their applications, they have system administration experts and they just need the infrastructure on which they will build their own sophisticated solutions.
  • Companies experiencing rapid growth or seasonal drastic peaks of traffic (like christmas) need for the scalability of IaaS in order to satisfy the excessive needs of clients at rush hour.

Anytime you are unsure of a new application’s demands, IaaS offers plenty of flexibility and scalability.

Benefits of Infrastructure as a Service

  • You will pay just for the resources used: PayGO (Pay As You Go). You can add more resources if needed but you won’t be wasting resources anytime.
  • You can save time and money since most providers will offer you support in case of problems.
  • You can optimize resource consumption by using available cost reduction plans.

Platform as a Service (PaaS)

Platform as a Service is an advanced version of IaaS. While the IaaS gives you access to an infrastructure, PaaS gives you access to a framework to build, test, deploy and manage software. It also provides you with everything you may need as data storage.

This type of cloud is mainly dedicated to developers who are intended to focus only on building their applications. PaaS paves the way for developers so they can start working directly on their tasks without struggling with installation or system administration issues

Examples of PaaS solutions providers

AWS Elastic Beanstalk, Apache Stratos, Google App Engine, are some examples of PaaS, Heroku, Force.com, OpenShift

When to Use PaaS

Utilizing PaaS is beneficial, sometimes even necessary, in several situations. For example, PaaS can streamline workflows when multiple developers are working on the same development project. If other vendors must be included, PaaS can provide great speed and flexibility to the entire process. PaaS is particularly beneficial if you need to create customized applications.

This cloud service also can greatly reduce costs and it can simplify some challenges that come up if you are rapidly developing or deploying an app.

PaaS can be the best option for;

  • Startups or small companies that need to launch e-commerce quickly
  • Startups who don’t have time for troubleshooting server issues or short-term projects that require quick, easy, and affordable collaboration
  • Startups with lack of expertise in system administration

Benefits of Platform as a Service

  • PaaS can make software development easier even for non experts. This is thanks to their click and drop systems.
  • The PaaS platform is upgraded and updated automatically so there’s no need to worry about it.
  • It can be used from different developers in different locations at the same time.

Software as a Service (SaaS)

SaaS is one of the most popular options for using cloud.

Software as a service (SaaS /sæs/) is the model that permits the users to take advantage of ready-to-use software without worrying about its infrastructure or how it was developed.

SaaS is a software distribution model in which a third-party provider hosts applications and makes them available to customers over the Internet. Today, most major software companies are transitioning to the SaaS.

These software are usually mobile apps or apps that can be used on browsers. All the updates are automatically set on the site, so the user doesn’t have to be worried about it.

You are probably already using a SaaS tool and may already be using some on the list below.

Examples of SaaS solutions providers

SaaS examples: BigCommerce, Google Apps, Salesforce, Dropbox, MailChimp, ZenDesk, DocuSign, Slack, Hubspot.

Popular examples of SaaS include:

  • Google Workspace (formerly GSuite)
  • Dropbox
  • Salesforce
  • Cisco WebEx
  • SAP Concur
  • GoToMeeting

Instead of architecting the adequate infrastructure, building the application from scratch and updating the software, you simply access a ready-to-use application via the Internet, freeing yourself from complex software and hardware management.

When to Use SaaS

All-in-One solutions like Office365 or Google’s G-Suite are excellent examples of SaaS. Usually these applications can be free, but they are limited. So you have to join a plan to enjoy the full benefits.

SaaS can be the best option for;

  • Startups or small companies that need to launch ecommerce quickly and don’t have time for server issues or software
  • Short-term projects that require quick, easy, and affordable collaboration
  • Business Email Solutions
  • File Sharing and Collaboration Software
  • Productivity Tools (such as word processors, slideshow builders, and spreadsheets)
  • Calendar Coordination
  • Unified Communication Software

Benefits of Software as a Service

  • Most SaaS options provide you with a free plan, and others offer you a free trial. This is an advantage so you can actually test the software and check if it is good for you.
  • You don’t have to worry about the updates. These are done automatically and you won’t get charge for them, not even if you are using the free version.
  • These applications can be use on several different devices. You can simply bring your own device.
  • You won’t need an IT engineer to start running the application. These apps are easy to use.

Cloud backup, also known as online backup or remote backup

While cloud storage and cloud backup may seem like the same thing, cloud backup is strictly focused on providing a secure solution in the event of a server crash, cyberattack or any other disaster or data loss.

Backing up your data in the Cloud saves on costly investments in hardware and upgrades while offering maximum protection for your business data.

Many businesses choose managed cloud solutions and use a professional service provider to manage the cloud backup environment.

Our professional online backup solutions are part of our IT cloud services which provide reliable and secure cloud environments for our clients.

There are various options and strategies to consider.


Backing up to the Public Cloud

One way to store organizational workloads is by duplicating resources in the public cloud. This method entails writing data directly to cloud providers, such as AWS, Microsoft Azure or Google Cloud. The organisation can use its own backup software to create the data copy to send to the cloud storage service. The cloud storage service then provides the destination and safekeeping for the data, but it does not specifically provide a backup application. In this scenario, it is important that the backup software is capable of interfacing with the cloud’s storage service API. Additionally, with public cloud options, IT professionals may need to look into supplemental data protection procedures.

When to backup to the Public Cloud

Backing up to the cloud is mainly used to save non critical data or archives related to the business of the company. Instead of buying several costly devices with many Terabytes of storage for old data , it’s better to rent the storage units at a minimal price from a service cloud provider


Backing up to a service provider.

In this scenario, an organisation writes data to a backup service provider that offers backup services in a managed data center. The backup software that the company uses to send its data to may support specific commercially-available backup applications.

When to backup to service provider

In case when the startup doesn’t want to subscribe to the services of a cloud service provider, relying on backup service providers is a good option.


Choosing a cloud-to-cloud (C2C) backup.

These services are among the newest offerings in the cloud backup arena. They specialize in backing up data that already lives in the cloud, either as data created using a software as a service (SaaS) application or as data stored in a cloud backup service. As its name suggests, a cloud-to-cloud backup service copies data from one cloud to another cloud. The cloud-to-cloud backup service typically hosts the software that handles this process.

When to backup to the Public Cloud

For big companies that want to achieve the best status of high availability and who want to take in consideration the outage of an entire cloud service provider in their disaster recovery plans, backing up data to the resources of another cloud service provider is a good option.


Online cloud backup systems

There are also hardware alternatives that facilitate backing up data to a cloud backup service. These appliances are all-in-one backup machines that include backup software and disk capacity along with the backup server. The appliances are about as close to plug-and-play as backup gets, and most of them also provide a seamless (or nearly so) link to one or more cloud backup services or cloud providers.

The list of vendors that offer backup appliances that include cloud interfaces is long, with Quantum, Synology, QNAP, Unitrends, Arcserve, Rubrik, Cohesity, Dell EMC, StorageCraft and Asigra active in this arena. These appliances typically retain the most recent backups locally, in addition to shipping it to the cloud backup provider, so that any required recoveries can be made from the local backup copy, saving time and transmission costs.

When to backup to the Public Cloud

Online backup solutions are always a great option for small companies. Small businesses have always many thing to struggle for. This is the reason why an easy to useonline cloud backup system can help business owners to gain time and to focus on more critical tasks.

Your small business data – how it’s hosted, and who has access to it.

Cloud hosting solutions provide all sorts of useful features, including email services, application hosting, VoIP, web-based phone systems and anti-virus protection and data storage.

Instead of needing physical servers, cloud hosting providers give you virtual space. This can then be scaled up or down as required.

Cloud hosting means you can access applications and websites using the cloud. Normally, if you are using traditional hosting everything is deployed on a single server. With the cloud it is a mix of virtual and physical cloud servers hosting your application or website, giving you that added flexibility and scalability.

Differences between traditional and cloud hosting.

Let's take a look at the differences between traditional and cloud hosting.

Traditional hosting is either shared or dedicated.

Shared hosting is the most common option for small business. Along with other businesses, you rent a fixed amount of space on the server and share the resources. It is cost-effective but could be limiting in the long term. The more businesses that rent the same server, the slower it may get for everyone, for example.

Having dedicated hosting is when you have a whole server, and exclusive access to its capacities.

Cloud hosting allows for scalability that traditional hosting does not. You can use as many resources as you need and pay only for what you use.

Also, cloud hosting is sometimes more secure compared to traditional servers, shared hosting can collapse due to traffic or attacks, and if a business sharing this shared server is compromised, the others could be in danger too.

So the main differences are:

  • Flexibility - Flexible cloud plans are great when you are starting out and are on a budget, traditional options can be more restrictive.
  • Reliability - Cloud hosted information is always at hand. Shared hosting on the other hand can be more vulnerable.
  • Performance - Cloud hosting can balance their resources, so it doesn’t matter if several users access to the information or website at the same time, it won’t collapse.
  • Cost - In some situations, cloud hosting can be cheaper than dedicated hosting.

How dedicated or shared traditional hosting works

With traditional hosting, services are either dedicated or shared. Each option has its pros and cons.

Dedicated hosting is when you buy an entire server, which has its own amount of processing power, bandwidth, memory and hard drive space. Dedicated hosting can be expensive, but depending on the situation, be cost-effective over the long term.

Whether your server is colocated (you own the hardware, you pay for hosting and connectivity, but you perform the maintenance and upgrades) or dedicated (rented, property of the ISP) you have full control over the resources and are able to build a secure private cloud.

With shared hosting, companies share a single server owned by the service provider. Each user pays for a specific amount of storage space on that server and shares in the bandwidth.

Cloud security management

Security can be a concern when it comes to cloud computing. That being said, no business is completely safe, from a range of potential risks. From cybercrime and hacking your systems to natural disasters, and human error. We deal with these things here at HelpDesk Heroes all the time.

There is a strong possibility that your business network will be compromised at some point. Therefore, business owners need to know that their information is safe and secure when it’s stored in the cloud. The key areas of risk must be regularly assessed and brought up-to-date. Your IT provider will be able to advise you on any risks and how to mitigate them.

Security. Using technology that concentrates on security, including identity verification and data encryption.

Data Integration. Are your applications, infrastructure, and data connected and optimised.

Availability. Prepare and plan how you would manage and reclaim data in the event of any changes or disaster.

Keeping up with new technologies. Ensure your business has the right technology for the task at hand. There are always new features and options to take advantage of.

Security compliance

Security compliance refers to how reliably your business controls and protects access to sensitive data.

Making sure you have security audit procedures in place, that ensures any legal requirements are continuously being met is absolutely vital. Data must always be kept confidential, protected from unauthorized users, yet still easily accessible.

Once you’ve identified the risks that are specific to each area, develop plans to address them.

Here at HelpDesk Heroes we offer additional cloud security services to create a bespoke solution when needed. These include SIEM, WAF and DDoS protection.

Finding a reputable cloud service provider is the key, ask questions about their emergency plans in the event of a security breach. Most importantly, take steps to reinforce your own security.


Important questions you should ask your IT provider

  • Who can see my information?
  • Is my data located at multiple data centres in different locations so it is protected from regional attacks?
  • What redundancies do you have in place to protect my data?
  • How is my data encryted?
  • How do you manage encryption keys?
  • What happens and how will you restore my data if there is a crash or cyberattack?
  • What security certifications do you have?
  • Are you compliant with the most current security protocols?
  • What can go wrong during implementation?
  • Are you a reseller? If so, who is responsible for service and support?

Migrate to the cloud successfully

Once you have decided to move your business to the cloud, you need to have your plans in place for your applications, storage and servers.

There are three basic steps to follow to get a successful cloud plan. How it’s hosted, who has access to it, and keeping it secure and futureproof.

The first step is to rehost your business without losing any actual data. When migrating to cloud you have to organize all files, data and apps you want to migrate.

Most of these transfers are automated so it can be done faster and more efficiently without introducing human error, that’s why you want to make sure it is done professionally and correctly from the outset. After migrating and verifying that ALL business data is successfully transferred to the new cloud, you should set up and test your new backups. Only once you've completed the disaster recovery plan steps, you can finally securely wipe all old data from previous storages and locations.


Migrate Applications

Migrating applications requires a complete audit so you have a total overview of your business data. Before moving a software application from one environment to another, identify any issues, and plan for backups and recovery service levels.

Procedures may vary from business to business, depending on the type and use of data. For example, a legal or financial firm won’t have the same needs as a media agency.

Your IT provider or in house team will identify the different factors as part of the migration effort so your migrations and the infrastructure transitions go smoothly.

After the migration, keep evaluating your processes and efficiency.


Migrate Users, Email and Files to Microsoft 365

Moving your business to Microsoft 365 (formerly Office 365)

This includes the migration of emails and files with the least amount of disruption and no data loss.

You could be using an older non-cloud version of Microsoft Office, or a completely different collaboration solution that is not fit for purpose anymore and you need to be very cautious during the migration process. Even between different versions of the same software, some fundamental features are not aligned. Microsoft 365 is a foundation for business workflow automation and collaboration and setting it up “wrong” can cause you much grief and re-arrangement efforts later.

Knowing the flow of departmental and cross-matrix teams of users is key to aligning a structure to share files, messaging, team collaborations and intranet sites that will best suit your organisational needs.

As said earlier, every business is different and procedures may vary, a legal firm won’t have the same needs as a creative agency, for example.

SME’s of all sizes can benefit from a good cloud strategy.

Taking care of your IT tasks and roles. Managing cloud vendors can become a time consuming job. You will need to have your internal IT department manage this or use an experienced IT provider. Here at HelpDesk Heroes we know that keeping up with vendors, especially if you operate in a multi-cloud environment, can become overwhelming. By using an outsourced IT service provider you can be sure that you are getting specialist advice and the latest available information.


Cloud Support

Have questions or need help? Use the form to reach out and we will be in touch with you as quickly as possible

Our Happy Clients

We work hard to make sure all our clients are happy.
Using our IT services for small and medium businesses, they don't have to think about their IT, because we do.


"We have been very impressed by the professionalism of HelpDesk Heroes and their dedication to our company. Upon purchasing their services, we were presented with a plan tailored to our structure and needs which includes an overseas office. To this day, HelpDesk Heroes has never let us down and, despite our constantly changing needs, we feel supported and cared for by our dedicated HelpDesk Heroes team, especially Josh and Jackye."


Cindy Richards

Rylan Peters & Small Publishing


"Having been looked after by one of HelpDesk Heroes’ founders Jackye for over ten years, it only made sense to follow when we heard the news of their new company – we wouldn’t go anywhere else! I would gladly recommend their IT support services. They are extremely flexible with our team, our enquiries and always respond in no time if we do have an urgent problem. They understand our core needs almost as if they are a part of the team itself so continue to improve and enhance the way we work and function. It has been refreshing to have the IT support and solutions thought about overall and not just ‘patched’ when things have gone wrong."


Gulsen Yanik

Big Al’s Creative Emporium Advertising Agency