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4 Tips For SMBs To Go Green

On Earth Day, environmental responsibility gets top billing, but the businesses can slash power costs with a few simple energy conservation tips and go green at the same time.

On Earth Day, environmental responsibility gets top billing, but the businesses can slash power costs with a few simple energy conservation tips and go green at the same time.Lately, the cloud has been a boon for communication services; the cloud of volcanic ash from the eruption in Iceland that has curtailed air travel across Europe has boosted use of video conferencing. But that cloud will eventually blow over. The cloud that's here to stay, at least for the foreseeable future, is cloud computing and that cloud can help SMBs go green and reduce costs.

Moving data into the cloud can eliminate on-site servers. That, in turn, can reduce power consumption. The savings can be substantial according to Michael Osterman, principal of industry analyst firm Osterman Research, "The savings stemming from eliminating on-site servers can reach thousands of dollars per month for the average 100-person business. The source of these savings is primarily reduced license and staffing costs, but lower power consumption alone contributes up to about $870 in savings per server each year."

Given that it is Earth Day, Intermedia, the hosted Exchange provider, is touting the Eco-benefits of cloud services. The company maintains five data-center cloud infrastructure that it claims support almost 250,000 business people. Getting down to brass tacks, Intermedia asserts that it can power approximately 240 mailboxes (BlackBerry, OCS, and SharePoint) with one server. That same load would required four to eight on-premises servers. This assumes a certain level of redundancy to maintain business continuity. Regardless of your environmental perspective, the prospect of not powering, much less supporting, a half dozen servers should be appealing - it's an argument that Intermedia and many other cloud providers have been making with some success.

Now about those tips. In addition to pointing out the cost savings and potential green cachet of the cloud, Intermedia also released 4 tips (if you prefer a list of 7 Tips To Green Your Business click here) that businesses can use to reduce environmental impact. Here they are:

  1. Have employees turn off computers when leaving the office at night.
  2. Use video conferencing instead of business travel.
  3. Encourage public transportation. Offer employees travel vouchers or reimbursement for your city's public transportation system.
  4. Unplug unnecessary electronics at the end of the day. Electronics such as chargers, fans and lamps use unnecessary power even when in "off" mode.

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