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Why is this technology trend important for the small business community?

Recently, you may have heard the term “cloud computing” tossed around. The “cloud” refers to the internet as a whole. You will see many definitions of the term “cloud computing”, but they will all refer to this general idea: a technology that uses the internet and central remote servers to maintain data and applications and provide services.

The next question is: Why is this technology trend important for the small business community? The answer is that cloud computing is the “Great Equalizer” for small businesses to successfully compete with their larger competitors. Small business operators now have access to technology solutions that once only large corporations could afford … and these solutions are readily available in a reliable, secure, and reasonably priced scenario.

One can find almost any line-of-business solution available in the cloud. Customer Relationship Management solutions, E-Mail, Accounting software, and even business productivity tools like Microsoft Office can be procured from cloud service providers. Today it is conceivable to run your business entirely utilizing cloud-based technology solutions.

All of this sounds great, right? But like anything you do as a business owner, there are risks. These risks include data security, solution availability, internet availability, etc. Here are some tips to minimize your risks when procuring a cloud-based technology solution:
  • Ensure your internet connection is reliable and has the necessary capacity for your needs.
  • Your cloud service provider should be able to guarantee that your solution will be available, with tangible penalties if it is not.
  • Your cloud service provider should have some or all of the more prevalent data security certifications: PCI 2.0, HIPAA, SSAE 16, SAS70 and so on.
  • Ensure that your contracts with cloud service providers allow for a simple termination, with a logical return of your data in the event that you need to cancel your contract.
Even with these inherent risks, cloud computing solutions can provide a substantial benefit to your business by providing best-of-breed technology solutions at a minimal cost.

If you are looking for more information on this topic, please attend our Small Business Council Breakfast on April 26: Make Your Business Mobile. Click Here for more information.

--Jim Van de Vuurst, Vanick Group
Posted: 3/15/2012 2:00:00 PM | with 0 comments

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Your business may be small, but that doesn't mean that your impact can't be huge! The Greater Memphis Chamber's Small Business Council serves to encourage, support, recognize and be a resource to small- and medium-sized businesses in the Memphis area. Here, our talented panel of contributors will present big ideas that could make a huge difference to your small business. And don't be afraid to ask questions ... no matter how small.

Sales & Small Business Ownership
Voss W. Graham is CEO and Senior Business Advisor for InnerActive Consulting Group Inc. He is known by his clients as "a knowledgeable partner who helps our team achieve business growth." He provides practical experience as a small business owner for over 29 years, yet is often engaged with Fortune 500 companies in the development of their people and business strategies.

Public Relations
Several professionals and strategists from the local Obsidian Public Relations firm provide excellent advice on everything from research to media relations to event planning. They believe that all companies, no matter how big or small the company or its budget, should have a public relations plan driving how they manage their relationships with key stakeholders. Public relations is an integral part of doing business the right way.

Human Resources
Joel Myers is a career Human Resources professional, with over 40 years in the field including 26 years in consulting.

Small Business Advice
Tom Pease is a small business owner of an office equipment dealership called e/Doc Systems, Inc. He has also owned a full-line Kawasaki dealership as well as a document shop. He used 30+ years of experience in owning a business to author two books, including: Going Out of Business by Design: Why 70% of Small Businesses Fail and Small Business Survival 101. He also has published 85 columns in The Memphis Daily News as the Small Business Advisor.

Marketing & Public Relations
Lori Turner-Wilson is CEO and Founder of RedRover Company, a sales development, marketing and PR consulting firm. Lori works with companies large and small, from start-ups to mature organizations, to help them improve the productivity of their sales force and the return on their marketing investment. Lori writes a weekly syndicated column for the Daily News, Memphis News, Nashville Ledger, and Desoto Times, among others, titled “Guerrilla Sales & Marketing,” for which she won a 2011 Summit International Award and 2012 International Communicator Award.

Design and Digital Strategy
Founded in 1999, inferno provides brand development, advertising, public relations, design and digital marketing services to clients across a broad spectrum of industries. Headquartered in Memphis with a satellite office in Kalamazoo, Michigan, the award-winning firm produces results-driven work by passionately combining strategic thinking, creativity and culture to ensure the success of its clients. For more information, visit

Labor & Employment Law
Fisher Phillips attorneys are ready to help you take a stand: in court, with employees and unions, or with competitors. Fisher Phillips has the experience and resolve to back you up. That's why some of the savviest employers come to the firm to handle their toughest labor and employment cases. The firm has 350 attorneys in 32 offices, including Memphis. For more information, visit

Since its founding in 2005, Paragon Bank has maintained a solid focus on the community and customer service. For more than 10 years, Paragon has delivered innovative products and financial expertise, convenience, and a deep understanding of what both businesses and individuals need from a ban, in order to provide solutions that make a difference. In the areas of business or personal banking, lending options or wealth management, Paragon delivers cutting edge technology, an experienced team and the most service-oriented staff of any community bank.