A string of recent high-profile IT security breaches on big companies have not shaken SMBs’ confidence in cloud computing, according to Optus.
The telco launched its OfficeApps cloud-based services today, the first wave of products to be released through the company’s software-as-a-service (SaaS) division.
With Australia expected to experience a growth in remote working and mobile workers, the telco is banking on the trend to encourage SMBs to move to the cloud and allow workers to access data assets on the go.
The first of the OfficeApps suite comprises of three offerings, featuring the same type of Google Apps for Business such as email, calender, documents and spreadsheet accessed through an online portal but with different incentives.
In April, Sony’s PlayStation Network, a cloud-based content delivery platform, was hacked and a high volume of customer personal details were stolen. Google recently reported a series of hacking attempts, some of them successful, on a number of Gmail accounts.
In its five-year history, Google Docs – which is part of the OfficeApps offering – has recorded several notable security flaws including a bug which allowed unintended access to private documents by unauthorised users.
But such security issues do not preoccupy the minds of SMBs, according to Optus SMB marketing director, Phil Offer.
“It’s interesting because if you talk to small businesses today, they actually care more about the impact of floods, especially up north, and data loss through that,” he said. “While people have data and servers in their offices, sometimes even back up, they can all get washed away in a flood.”
Practicality drives business decisions for SMBs and the benefits of cloud computing outweighs the possible security risks, according to Offer.
“Small businesses are actually more pragmatic and they understand while it might be their own IT environment but that doesn’t mean it’s secure,” He said. “If anybody breaks into or hack into the environment, there is less visibility and less people watching that then if it was to, say, happen with one of the major cloud providers.”
This was aptly demonstrated in the recent Queensland floods where businesses that had a cloud service run by a provider had everything up and running very quickly, according to Offer.
“That advantage is what SMBs really understand and grab onto,” he said. “We’ve signed with a partner like Google that knows the Web.
“It’s Google’s expertise as well which small businesses recognise to protect their data.”
The base Optus OfficeApp offering, the Email and Collaboration plan with connection fees, costs $10 per user per month. As the name suggests, Optus will charge a one-off $150 connection fee for this plan but with no contract lock-in period. This plan only provides end-user technical support at certain times.
Email and Collaboration at $20 waves the connection fee on a 12-month contract and also features limited technical support options.
For around-the-clock IT help desk access, the Email and Collaboration 24x7 for $25 per month is an option. Customers will also receive a 12-month TrueLocal.com.au business advertising package.
All plans offer 25GB of storage space, 99.9 per cent uptime guarantee from Google and business domain name registration service as an aid for SMBs to kickstart their online presence.
Optus could not reveal its take-up expectations for OfficeApps.
Offer said Optus continues to look for partners that can provide new and innovative services under the telco’s SaaS banner.