SMEs: Is it time you adopted a cloud-first strategy?

As the UK’s small businesses grapple with labour shortages, rising inflation, and increased running costs, here we reveal how a cloud-first strategy could help streamline your operations, better protect your business against cyber security, and save you money.


Technology has always been the key to working smarter, harder, and faster, and in the midst of growing uncertainty – spurred on by a cost-of-living crisis – it’s never been more important for small businesses to take advantage of the tech that’s at their disposal.

One form of technology with huge potential benefits to transform the operations of small businesses is cloud-based working, which really proved its worth during the pandemic.

The gap between those who had already moved to the cloud and those who had not was never more prevalent than during the various lockdowns, when it provided a clear competitive advantage. Those companies who were still reliant on ‘traditional’ legacy systems, such as paper records and onsite servers, faced a huge uphill challenge. And with employees looking for long-term flexibility in how and where they carry out their duties, its importance remains high.

But being able to work from anywhere isn’t the only benefit of becoming cloud-based. Here we look at all the reasons why a move to the cloud should be top of the agenda for ambitious small businesses.


What is the cloud?

Most people are now familiar with the concept of using the cloud. One common example being to use it as place to save personal photos and files. Cloud-based working takes this a step further.

In basic terms, working in the cloud means using software and services that run on the internet. Before the cloud, businesses would rely on storing data on physical resources, such as hard drives and servers. The larger the company, the more onsite storage they would need, which meant that scaling up – especially at speed – was a real headache.

The option to work in the cloud has eliminated the need for this type of local network storage, making it possible to access applications and data your business relies on from anywhere in the world. This has empowered business, supporting them to become more agile, productive and responsive, and also opening the door to global talent pools! (Because if you can login from anywhere, you can work from anywhere!).

Cloud-based systems have also provided an additional layer of protection against cyberattacks. Having data stored off-site in an encrypted location that only authorised users can access makes it far more difficult for a business to be hacked, or data destroyed or held to ransom.


What is a cloud-first strategy?

While storing data on the cloud is nothing new, making the switch to fully cloud-based working and then putting in place a cloud-first strategy, is an important next step. As the world increasingly goes digital, it’s something that is rapidly gaining in momentum, as businesses to take full advantage of the technology that’s now available. Indeed, 85% of organisations are expected to have embraced a cloud-first strategy by 2025.

But what exactly does it entail?

Adopting a cloud-first strategy means your business always considers the cloud first, when it comes to existing systems and processes, and anything new you might introduce. It sees most, or all, of the company’s infrastructure being based on a cloud-computing platform.

A cloud-first strategy is an approach that can help teams get the most out of their investment, by ensuring that all the possibilities presented by the cloud are always explored. It doesn’t mean you have to have a ‘cloud-only’ mindset (where only cloud solutions are allowed), just that the cloud is always the first option to be considered.

Developing this type of strategy can unlock many benefits, including for data security, disaster recovery, cost savings and more.


Benefits to small businesses of a cloud-first strategy
  • Lower overheads – it can be far more economical to work in the cloud, compared to the cost of buying and maintaining physical equipment. For those who do away with having a physical office altogether (something we have seen happening more and more in recent years), the savings can be substantial. Businesses who follow a cloud-first strategy will typically achieve savings on hosting costs, equipment, licensing and labour.


  • Nimbleness needed to scale – Working in the cloud gives businesses the ability to scale quickly and to be able to respond at pace to changing market demands. For example, there is no need to go out and buy more storage space, it can be done at the click of a button. New team members can be added easily along with new capabilities and processes that may be needed by the growing business.


  • Flexibility – A cloud-strategy supports business to build the systems they really need, piece by piece, and to easily evolve them over time as the needs of the business evolve.


  • Reliable data recovery – If your data is stored in the cloud, it is protected from any disasters that may befall the office, including fires, theft and criminal damage. If you rely on physical resources, once they’re gone, they’re gone, and that information will be lost forever. Storing data in the cloud means you can restore any information very quickly. Having strong systems in place for data backup can also protect against the potential cost and disruption of a successful cyberattack.


  • Reduce human error – Human error remains one of the top routes ‘in’ for cyber criminals, with phishing scams become more sophisticated by the day. Taking your operations digital means more layers of protection can be added to both help prevent a successful cyberattack and mitigate any damage that one may cause, reducing potential disruption and damage to your reputation.


  • Collaboration – A cloud-first strategy can not only help you streamline your operations, but it can also aid collaboration by ensuring team members stay connected, wherever they may be in the world, and giving them access to the most up-to-date information.


Need help moving to the cloud?

At Dragon IS, we are experienced in working with small and growing businesses to support them in successfully making the move to cloud-based working. We pride ourselves on talking plainly, with no jargon, to help our customers get the most from their IT systems,

To find out more, please call us on 0330 363 0055 or email