Boutique chocolatier sweet on cloud

Sisko Chocolate, based in suburban Melbourne, Australia, is proof of cloud computing's reach across sectors and company types.

Director and founder of Sisko Chocolate, Christina Tantsis, runs a boutique chocolate business with two full time staff and a few casuals, and adopted the cloud as the business case arose.

"There was no plan to adopt cloud technologies, just an evolution as we discovered applications and services that made life easier," she says.

The company's first experience was with Dropbox, which Tantsis and her designers found more efficient than email for photography studio imagery, providing corporate clients with images from their events, and sending high resolution marketing images to the media for coverage.

Sisko Chocolate director and founder, Christina Tantsis, showcases the product

Next was the company accounts. Tantsis had heard about Xero and Saasu, but hadn't really looked into them. When the company accountant said it was time they moved from spreadsheets to MYOB or Quickbooks, Sisko Chocolate spent around $800 on a desktop solution that never really got past the set-up stage.

"While I was waiting for a meeting with our accountant to set up our accounts software, I signed up for trials of both Xero and Saasu and liked what I saw, they were both so much more intuitive," she says. "I also liked the fact that we could access it from anywhere, as could our accountant."

After successful first forays into cloud computing, staff then started using Google Calendars and Evernote to share dates, appointments and notes across all staff and company devices. Now, Sisko Chocolate has even set up its own private cloud environment using two Synology network attached storage devices. Locating one at the business premises, and one off-premise, ensures redundancy so data isn't only backed up, it's augmented by tools like CloudStation and Photo Station to share documents and images.

"Technology should be used to make life easier," Tantsis says when asked what advice she'd offer an SME in a similar position considering a move to cloud services.

"If you travel frequently like we do, having the ability to run your business while you're away is just one benefit."

Sisko Chocolate is also comfortable putting its faith in companies like Dropbox and Xero when it comes to data security, who Tantsis says "invest a lot of money in protecting their businesses and thus client data."

She continues: "Using cloud services might even be more secure than keeping all of your data on a computer or server at a single location."