Cloud Computing Benefits for Small BusinessBruce Shely
The “Cloud” Is a Resource For You and Your Team
Cloud computing is not a recent development. In fact, it’s been around for quite a while. It is something that offers increasingly viable and affordable opportunities for small businesses. Yet many small businesses have yet to fully realize the benefits of expanding their computing needs into the “cloud”.
Cloud computing involves using the Internet to access your data and applications that are housed on a set of servers or computers; as opposed to your computer’s hard drive or a local server.
Though you may not know it, you’re probably already using cloud computing. It’s estimated that close to 80 percent of all modern businesses use some form of cloud computing – and many of them don’t even know they’re using it. If you access your email through a service like Gmail, Hotmail or Yahoo! you’re using the cloud.
There are some potential pitfalls involved in the use of cloud computing that you need to be aware of – such as concerns about privacy and security, proprietary formats, and access issues. You will, of course, want to address these issues before considering a significant shift to a cloud system. Yet even taking into account these potential drawbacks, there are some clear advantages to adopting cloud computing.
Not the least of which is lower costs to your business. With the use of cloud computing your business can experience a significant decrease in hardware and software investment. Rather than frequently upgrading hardware to the newest and fastest versions, you’re able to retain older computers in-house while the cloud system takes on the responsibility of upgrades in areas like processing speed, storage space and online backup.
Other cloud computing benefits:
– Buy only what you need. Small companies often don’t need every component of a business application. So why pay for elements you don’t use. With cloud computing, you can subscribe to only the level of service you require.
– The equipment is offsite. You no longer need to invest in expensive equipment, licenses and IT support in your office. As new software versions become available, the cost of upgrade is paid by the cloud service, not you.
– Gain access to experts. With cloud computing, you have access to experts in every field of service that you purchased. This gives your business a competitive edge that you probably would not have been able to afford otherwise. Cloud computing allows you to do use less of your available capital.
– Scale when you’re ready. As your business grows and need additional software or a larger storage space for your data, simply purchase additional space and services as part of your monthly computing package. Your employees may not even notice a difference — and any training that’s required will be much quicker.
– It levels the playing field. Cloud computing allows you to purchase high-performing software that may have been previously have been unreachable to you as a small business. Now you can have access to tools that large companies have had for years. You can take your sales and service customer relation management to new levels of success with Sales Force, allow file sharing and on-the-go access to important business documents with Google Docs stored in Google Drive, share photos with Dropbox, and so much more. The list is nearly endless.
As with all new technology, cloud computing can seem intimidating at first – there’s research to be done and employees to train. However, now your small company can use cloud computing as a competitive advantage. Solutions that were too costly for small businesses are now within reach with cloud computing.