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Pandemic or none, MSMEs need cloud computing for business continuity

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With the resurgence in COVID-19 cases and a tighter watch on natural disasters in the country, a new player in the information technology (IT) industry is pushing for greater awareness of the concept of cloud computing among micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) amid a lack of awareness about Business Continuity Planning (BCP).

Recently-launched Stitch Tech Solutions believes that with cloud computing, businesses of any scale can continue operating even amid the pandemic and even as natural disasters strike.

The Philippines, along with the rest of the world, have fallen into recession, as mobility restrictions due to the pandemic and the lockdowns have slowed down, if not stopped business operations. Research from the Asian Development Bank published in September 2020 showed that 71% of MSMEs surveyed in the country were forced to halt operations, while the Department of Trade and Industry reported that an estimated 90,000 MSMEs remained closed. The risks to businesses, however, don’t end there.

Natural calamities also serve as threats to enterprises. The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) notes that the country receives an average of 20 storms annually. Meanwhile, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) lists 24 active volcanoes and a bunch of fault lines across the archipelago.

BCP creates a system of prevention and recovery from potential threats to a company. While IT plays just one role in BCP, it is an important one.

“Aside from COVID-19, we understand that many businesses in and around Metro Manila have also been watching the movements of Taal Volcano and Mount Pinatubo given their grim histories, as well as ‘The Big One’ since these are expected to cripple business operations. With cloud computing, enterprises can continue to function amid these events as if they didn’t happen,” said Stitch COO Alex Aquino.

The benefits of cloud computing include the following:
  1. Speed – Most cloud computing services provide self-service, and on-demand, so even vast amounts of computing resources can be provisioned in minutes.
  2. Flexibility – Cloud computing is a flexible way of storing and accessing data over the internet. This means that your data is not tied down to one specific computer and can instead be accessed from several devices while still keeping all your information and data secure.
  3. Global Scale – Delivering the amount of IT resources right when they’re needed  and from the right geographic location. For instance, certain multinational companies have just one central server that can be accessed simultaneously from different locations in the Philippines and abroad. Geoblocks can be applied, if necessary.
  4. Productivity – The accessibility of cloud solutions allows employees to work on-the-go; all they need is a connection to the internet to work from wherever they need to.
  5. Cost savings – The cloud allows you to trade capital expenses (such as data centers and physical servers) for variable costs. It can save you an estimated 30-50% in infrastructure spending. Cloud solutions are often handled by vendors who provide cloud computing services.

“With cloud computing, businesses can store and access files and software, especially large ones, without necessarily buying a physical server, saving them office space and cost. Office personnel can also work from home or anywhere else other than their usual workplaces,” Aquino further said.

Unfortunately, there is a gap in SMEs’ access to cloud computing tools and BCP practice. A study by the International Labour Organization (ILO) published in 2015 suggested that SMEs in the Asia-Pacific region are the most vulnerable and least prepared for disasters. It also cited related research saying that only 13% of the region’s SMEs have BCPs. In fact, major local firms have used cloud computing as part of their BCPs in the storms’ aftermaths.

Nonetheless, the ILO research noted the Asian Disaster Preparedness Center’s point that limited BCP awareness is one of the main barriers to the concept’s adoption.

“In a country prone to disasters, coupled with the pandemic, and with MSMEs serving as the backbone of the economy, it just makes perfect sense that cloud computing is a key solution towards achieving not just business continuity, but our economy bouncing back better,” said Stitch Chairman Eusebio H. Tanco.

“Our financial health as a country suffered this pandemic given that MSMEs function as our main economic lifeline. Through cloud computing, we want to give these businesses a shot in the arm, so they can get back on their feet the soonest and not just survive, but thrive,” Stitch CEO Jaeger L. Tanco said.

Aside from cloud computing services, Stitch offers SAP Consultation and IT Services such as website and app development and management, as well as IT support and enhancement of day-to-day operations. 

To know more, visit them at stitchtechsolutions.com.

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