A recent survey of UK SMEs indicates that despite some obvious cost and productivity benefits they are less enthusiastic about adopting cloud technologies than perhaps larger companies, governments and consumers. Only 43% supported the view that cloud technologies are ideally suited to small to medium-sized businesses, many citing connectivity and security as the main issues.
Averaging around £1000 per month, traditional leased lines are beyond the budgets of most SMEs and consequently they have to make do with broadband.
“Broadband is generally ok for web browsing and email but we could not trust it with applications that are critical to the business. Whilst it is generally reliable, the speeds we can achieve vary and when it breaks down we just have to wait for it to come back up again. During a recent outage, I was surprised to be told that the Care Level on ADSL is ‘best efforts’. This means that if it breaks down they will try and fix it in 3 days but if they can’t then no compensation is payable”. Drew Hazell, Taylor Bradshaw Accountants, Saffron Walden.
SMEs also want to be reassured that their applications and data are secure in the cloud.
“The cost advantages of the cloud are undeniable but whilst it’s unlikely that cyber-criminals will target our 600 or so customers in our comms room, they might do if they were part of millions of records stored in the public cloud. The public Internet is still an unregulated, unpredictable and dangerous place and we are nervous about accessing our phone system, data and applications over it.” Jim Willis, Jiles Electronics, Derby.
One company determined to address these concerns is Jola. JolaNet is being rolled out in selected areas offering high-speed private leased lines for less than £200 per month. Unlike broadband, JolaNet is uncontended and comes with a business-grade Care Level and compensation scheme. Jola also offers an integrated suite of cloud applications designed for the SME.
A key difference with JolaNet is that the leased line from the customer site to the datacentre is private and secure. This means that connections to other offices, remote users and other cloud applications can also be private; sitting behind industrial firewalls that protect Jola customers from the public Internet.
Andrew Dickinson, MD explains; “JolaNet solves the connectivity problem for SMEs and helps them move relevant business applications into the cloud. A typical SME is spending around £1000 per month on their phone system, Internet access, telephone lines and calls. Jola can replace all of this with a cloud solution for less than £500 per month. JolaNet customers are not exposed directly to the Internet. Our network firewalls protect customers from intrusion whilst still offering the best possible web browsing and email experience. The private nature of JolaNet also allows us to separate voice and data traffic, completely eliminating the quality issues sometimes associated with voice running over connectivity. Jola offers 24/7 technical support to all of its customers.