Despite its name, Hollywood, Fla.-based MonsterCloud wants to take the "monster" out of producing cloud-based services.
Managing a small business IT environment is a beastly task, one that cloud computing was supposed to help solve. Instead, entrepreneurs quickly discover that they traded one burden for another.
[Read more about cloud computing benefits: Small Business Case Study: Why Move to Cloud Computing?]
Sure, Amazon Web Services (AWS), Salesforce, Office 365, and tons of other cloud service offerings have made it easier and cheaper than ever for smaller companies to access enterprise-grade business software and IT capabilities. The downside is that small and midsized businesses (SMBs) are largely left to juggle cloud subscriptions, configure their environments, and protect their data on their own.
As the old saying goes, "You get what you pay for." In the cloud computing industry, this means that cheap upfront costs can translate into hefty investments in time, energy, and third-party expertise down the road.
From its sunny home in Florida, fast-growing MonsterCloud (10,000 business users and counting) is persuading companies around the world to try the company's one-stop approach to small business private cloud computing.
One-Stop Cloud Provider
Today, small business owners not only face a fragmented cloud services market, but cloud providers are nickel-and-diming them each time they need to add new, incremental capacity. Need to spin up another virtual server? "They're going to start quoting you" some budget-straining amounts, Zohar Pinhasi, CEO of MonsterCloud, told Small Business Computing.
MonsterCloud offers an alternative. The company provides "unlimited software on the cloud [and] unlimited hardware on the cloud" all under a predictable pay-per-user pricing model. According to Pinhasi, MonsterCloud is "the only company in the world that offers this business model."
Prices vary, depending on a business' needs, but MonsterCloud customers typically pay between $50 and $150 per month, said Pinhasi. In addition to floating a private cloud for each customer, each with unlimited computing power, storage, and server resources, the company also provides real-time backup and disaster recovery, a crucial component for keeping today's digital businesses up and running despite what Mother Nature (or error-prone humans) throws at them.
MonsterCloud currently operates more than 2000 cloud servers out of six data centers spread across the globe, Pinhasi said. Customer data is securely and automatically replicated between these sites, ensuring that your business files and applications remain accessible in the unlikely event of an outage.
Why Go the Private Cloud Route?
Several MonsterCloud customers have security and data privacy requirements that can make placing their sensitive client or patient information on a multi-tenant cloud provider a risky proposition. "We wanted to make sure their cloud has the privacy that [customers] need," Pinhasi said. In much the same way health clinics, pharmacies, and law offices may set up protected servers in their offices, MonsterCloud setups are "completely private and secure," he added.
They also include a hardened firewall, security monitoring, and anti-virus protection for a customer's desktop PCs. Customers can further consolidate their IT environments with online document storage, hosted Exchange email services with advanced archiving capabilities, and file sync and share. MonsterCloud even offers a "Mini Monster" micro-PC that is pre-configured to with a customer's private cloud environment.
Businesses considering moving their existing IT infrastructure and business applications to a managed private cloud from MonsterCloud don't have to miss a step, said Pinhasi. The company schedules and completes migrations during off-hours, like nights and weekends, to minimize disruptions.
Another perk: free phone service.
Calling All Small Businesses
All MonsterCloud customers get voice over IP (VoIP) calling capabilities along with their new private clouds. "As soon as they come on board, they get free service," Pinhasi said.
Although it's an unusual bundling, it's one that makes a lot of sense for businesses that are just starting out and opening their new offices and facilities. When startups and growing companies sign a new lease and move into their new digs, they often find that it lacks the cabling and infrastructure to support a business phone system.
[Learn how: Cloud Computing Helps Lift Small Business Valuations]
MonsterCloud supplies wireless desk phones that don't require complex and pricey wiring jobs. The contract-less service also includes and U.S.-based customer service, unlimited fax-to-email, and a mobile app.
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Pedro Hernandez is a contributing editor at Small Business Computing. Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE.