Until now, there has never been a solution where small business owners could choose their core IT requirements through a single product. Cloudbox has adopted the shopping mall concept and aims to simplify IT for business owners who don’t always have the technical expertise or time to manage multiple solutions and service providers.
Cloudbox offers a set of core services that every small business requires including email, email backups, secure file sharing, data backups, cyber security and collaboration tools. Previously, these services would have been procured on an individual basis from multiple suppliers which results in unnecessary complexity and management.
Alto Africa CEO Justin Trent says to offer IT services and solutions using the shopping mall concept, requires extensive planning and research. “After a very lengthy due diligence process of all the best providers in the market, Cloudbox was born.”
“One also needs to understand the SME technology requirements. After spending a lot of time with SME’s, we knew the solution had to be easy to use, easy to understand and cost effective while at the same time ensuring our clients data was safe from cybercrime or loss,” he explains.
Trent says most SME’s don’t have a formal IT structure in place. “This is a massive challenge when trying to scale a business, add or remove employees, trying to work in multiple locations and control data. More importantly, business owners also want to be able to accurately budget for their IT spend and have a robust solution that works all of the time.”
Cloudbox targets businesses that want to take advantage of the many benefits that cloud computing solutions offer. It aims to provide South African SMEs with corporate grade IT solutions and expert IT advice at a portion of the price.
“We frequently engage with SMEs who have been terribly neglected, taken advantage of and given bad advice from an IT perspective. They don’t understand what they are being charged and they are in serious danger of losing their company data. Through our per-user per-month model, we enable businesses to eradicate all of these problems,” he adds.
SMEs often employ the services of what Alto Africa labels the ‘bakkie brigade’, a group of local techies that work on a break-fix model and don’t focus on implementing robust long term solutions for their clients.
Cloudbox aims to create an environment for its clients, one that requires as little support as possible by implementing solutions that are reliable, secure and guaranteed uptime.
Cloud solutions level the playing field when it comes to technology, as through its pay per use model, it enables SME’s to make use of the same technology that would generally only be afforded by large companies who had the capital to invest in infrastructure. SME’s can almost instantly make use of solutions such as Cloudbox to have a full IT solution in place that is secure, enables users to work from anywhere and off any device.
Trent says the days of speaking about cloud as a future technology are over. “Those that aren’t utilising cloud solutions are being left behind. From free apps to enterprise grade solutions, businesses are able to be more cost effective, productive and agile.”
Speaking about free solutions, Trent believes there is a place for free solutions but says as a business grows, they will need to invest in scalable solutions. “Free solutions just don’t have the security, scalability and functionality that is required for a growing business.”
Most start-ups focus on growth and chasing the next deal and don’t focus enough on creating internal processes that can be carried out in the absence of the business owners. Having internal processes reduces the reliance on the owners and allows management structures to be created, which ultimately creates a more valuable asset.
He says one of the biggest challenges for start-ups is managing growth. “Unless there are policies in place from early on that govern the various company activities, the company is very likely to have massive inefficiencies that will knock the company off its intended path.
“Furthermore, I think business owners don’t put enough value on their systems and how having robust IT systems in place can massively increase the value of the business. Cloudbox provides the mechanism for companies to rapidly expand or outsource. Having this scalability and flexibility in place can easily help turn an SME that is battling with their technology into a well-oiled machine,” he explains.
Trent points to connectivity as absolutely essential to the growth of cloud and business as a whole. “For this reason Africa is still lagging behind third world countries that have well developed infrastructure.”
Connectivity is not only essential in business but has just as much importance in the education sector. People need to be online and it needs to be affordable and prioritised in all African countries in order for them to compete and level the playing field with the rest of the world.
For more information visit www.cloudbox.co.za or contact Alto Africa on (021) 201-1350 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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