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How do you even begin to choose an affordable cloud-based hosting company for a SMB Tech start-up?


Topic Expert
Bob Scarborough
Title: CEO
Company: Tensoft, Inc.
(CEO, Tensoft, Inc.) |

This is a broad question with lots of potential answers. Could you state the specific functional areas where you are looking to leverage cloud applications?

Topic Expert
Wayne Spivak
Title: President & CFO
LinkedIn Profile
(President & CFO, |

I'll add, did you do a through analysis of your needs so you can definitely state that you need option A and C, not B. Did you review your IT needs so you can compare the added cost of hosting your own solution or going to the Cloud.

Just because the "Cloud" is sexy today, doesn't mean that it is automatically the right choice.

Donald Koscheka
Title: Principal
Company: Bluecloud Communications
(Principal, Bluecloud Communications) |

As Bob points out, this is a very broad question but since we are a tech start up, here is what we learned:

If you need day-to-day capabilities like email, file storage, etc. use a system like Office 365 - it provides all the basic 'office productivity' capabilities in the cloud - and frees your team from having to worry about this stuff (managing email even for a small shop can be time consuming).

For accounting, we started with QuickBooks, however if your offering is going to leverage ecommerce, you might want to consider a solution like NetSuites.

If you need a development platform, it depends on what you will be developing on. If you are using the LAMP stack, consider services like Amazon which can be quite cost effective. Microsoft based platforms tend to be more expensive, but we've had good luck with providers such as Apps4Rent and FPWeb.

(Agent, JKS Solutions, Inc.) |

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Cloud9 Real Time

James Duke
Title: Director
Company: ELAINT
LinkedIn Profile
(Director, ELAINT) |

Actually a good option would be Cbeyond

Joanie Mann
Title: Principal Consultant
Company: Cooper Mann Consulting
LinkedIn Profile
(Principal Consultant, Cooper Mann Consulting) |

Knowing what you actually want to have hosted is the first element... different providers specialize in different areas, and it's unlikely that you will find a one size fits all hosting provider to handle websites and business environments both.

There are a variety of businesses that can host your QuickBooks and Office apps (like Uni-Data, Cloud9 and other authorized QB hosts), but they aren't in a position to host your website or web-based apps. On the other hand, there are platform folks out there (Rackspace, Softlayer, ThinkGrid) that can give you IT solutions, but not necessarily managed applications.

So... as a tech startup, have you selected your various operational systems yet? That's the place to start (messaging, productivity, accounting... CRM...)


Donald Koscheka
Title: Principal
Company: Bluecloud Communications
(Principal, Bluecloud Communications) |

If you are building a service, first decide which platform makes most sense - Amazon, SalesForce, Azure, etc. Then reach out to that vendor to see if they have any services for startups. For example, Microsoft will give you some free development time on Azure.

The most important thing to keep in mind: does you service match what your customer use and can you provide the service cost-effectively?

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