How Cloud Computing Can Help Small Businesses
From being a concept that few understood, to becoming a mainstream technology tool for people the world over, cloud computing has indeed come a long way. In fact, it can be considered nothing short of a technological revolution.
The pre-Internet days were all about buying software, installing it and running it on our computers. The system’s performance depended on that. The cloud is similar as well as different.
In cloud computing, the software is run by a third-party provider, and we can access it using the Internet. There’s no need for you to spend money on software, or its installation. It’s akin to renting the service (free or paid) online, instead of owning digital infrastructure.
All business enterprises, big or small, are always looking for ways to boost their productivity by performing tasks not just speedily, but also in the most economical way.
The pressure on small businesses is particularly high as they not only have to continually improve quality standards, they also have to price their product/service competitively.
At the same time, they also have to worry about cutting costs and increasing profitability. This is one of the many reasons an increasing number of small businesses are turning to the cloud and reaping its benefits.
Mentioned ahead are a few more advantages that small businesses stand to gain by using cloud computing.
Improve Collaboration with Remote Employees
Most small and medium-sized businesses consider the ability to be productive even when working remotely to be critical to their functioning.
Because cloud-based programs can be used at all times on almost all devices that are supported with an Internet connection, it can be of great benefit to businesses with remote employees as far as collaborating with them is concerned.
Teams in different locations can make use of cloud-based software to collaborate on documents without having to bother about sending out emails and attachments repeatedly. Files, calendars and task lists can be shared from any location. All users need to do is simply sign up with the service and access the information over the Web, without downloading or installing software.
Apart from making it easy to share files and other information, employees can also get the benefit of staying connected by using instant messaging services and conducting spontaneous meetings using flawless audio, video and Web conferencing capabilities.
Certain cloud-based services can also make it easy for employees to include vendors and customers in meetings, thereby enabling the organization to react more quickly to business opportunities.
Using cloud-based services can help small businesses save a ton of money, particularly costs related to server maintenance, software licensing, power and cooling costs, and upgrade outlays.
It is always advisable to use cloud services rather than spending money on hardware and software that is rarely used. Many a time, these services are free. Some require minimal payment or a subscription fee which can turn out to be a better bargain as far as budgets are concerned.
What’s more? Apart from the ability to be flexible during busy periods, you can also easily scale down during a slag period. All this without having to incur frequent and exorbitant costs!
Support Business Growth
Cloud solutions are scalable, or elastic, so you can tap resources or increase capacity to support growth and handle peak periods.
Most small businesses face the challenge of having to predict the kind of resources they will need, and to what extent. With cloud solutions, the need to get the exact estimate gets eliminated as you can keep fulfilling your needs as they arise by making use of exactly what is required by you to grow and increase your efficiency.
If your assignments demand an increased collaboration, you can make use of necessary tools available online and get things going without wasting any time. This makes your organization more flexible, which is always a requirement for a growing company.
It can get tedious to keep taking backup of business data every now and then. But by using cloud services, you can trust the service provider to do that for you. In fact, the cloud can help you retrieve the latest versions of your data even if there has been a system failure on the site.
Apart from that, you’re always at a risk of losing data (that is physically stored) to natural disasters like floods or fire. With cloud-based solutions, you need not worry about that either, thanks to their automatic back-up facility. In the event of any such disaster occurring, you can be up and running in a matter of minutes.
Some providers offer geographically-redundant storage (GRS), which means that your data gets saved across multiple locations, which can be used in case one website fails.
Thanks to cloud technology, small business can compete with larger organizations all over the world. The cloud provides them with a platform to carry out their operations more efficiently by using most of their services at no/low cost.
It is also easy to make a transition to cloud services, in case companies that aren’t really benefitting from using their current software. In fact, the updated versions of the services on offer are amply available.
As the cloud continues to grow and develop, better technology and faster response time will make it easier for businesses to get what they want, whenever they want it.
If all goes well, small businesses may be able to see enterprise-level applications made available to them on the cloud, enabling them to take their operations to the next level.
While some business owners continue to have apprehensions about using cloud-based solutions, there are several others who find it to be economical and effective. The ease with which they can be integrated into almost any business makes them all the more appealing. Another big advantage they offer is convenience – users can access their information at any time, on any location and on any device as long as they have Internet connectivity and usability access. Small businesses that use cloud-based applications can reap all of the above benefits and be successful.
Jason Geater leads the team at Solvusoft. They offer consumer PC optimization products that help with computer errors, edit file types, and protect online privacy.