For many people, cloud computing has gone from a vague concept to a reality that they use daily. Businesses, too, have taken to the cloud, and in some cases, cloud based systems have played a part in a business’s resurgence. Small businesses have especially benefited from cloud based systems because they offer options and capabilities that were previously reserved only for large companies that had larger budgets. With cloud computing, a business needs only an internet connection and an internet-capable device to access services, software, and data from anywhere in the world. For a small business that is uncertain about the cloud, here are a few ways this technology has helped other businesses grow.
The cloud brings with it a number of financial savings. While it’s true that there are fees associated with cloud computing, they’re often much less than the fees businesses have been paying. Cloud software, for example, can be used on any computer that can access the cloud. This means businesses typically now pay for a cloud license instead of licensing the software for multiple computers. This can be a very substantial saving.
Another area where businesses save is on backup costs. Businesses can back up all of their data to the cloud instead of providing each employee with a backup hard drive or backup server space. This allows employees at different locations to access data quickly and easily. With lower maintenance costs, fewer software subscriptions, and the ability to backup important data from anywhere, cloud computing can significantly impacta business’s bottom line.
This ease of access leads to the second way that cloud technology has helped small businesses grow. It’s much easier to collaborate on a project when everyone involved can access data and project drafts at any time via the cloud. There’s no longer any need to even email files back and forth once everything is saved through the cloud. It’s possible to collaborate with partners on the other side of the world as easily as it is to work with someone just down the hall.
The cloud isn’t just for computers; even cloud based phone systems have become an integral part of today’s world. Mobile computing has become a permanent fixture on job sites because it allows employees to be in constant contact with the office. They can access all of the pertinent data on-site without lugging around a laptop or seeking a WiFi connection. Instead, everything is done with a smartphone or lightweight tablet. Here are just a few ways mobile cloud computing has changed certain industries:
- Construction workers can access blueprints, look at budgets, and make vendor requests while at the job site.
- Lawyers can view new information on cases while on the way to a trial or during trial recess without returning to the office.
- A business executive having lunch with investors can pull up the details on any project via smartphone rather than carrying paper files that may or may not be needed.
Scalability is No Longer an Issue
The cloud is much more scalable than purchasing physical hard drives and software licenses. There’s no worry about purchasing extra storage space, for example, since the cloud can be expanded as needed. Instead of predicting the needs of your business for the next year or more, you can shrink or expand your computing resources as you need. This lets you manage your company’s growth much better, giving you a flexibility that is unprecedented.
If a catastrophe were to happen and your business’s data servers were to go down, it’s possible you’d lose hundreds of hours’ worth of work. Deadlines could be missed, projects completely lost, and sensitive information could be deleted or stolen. The cloud provides a place for secure online data backup that ensures that even if you suffer from an on-site disaster, you will still be able to rebuild quickly. Many cloud backup companies even provide redundancy, so your business’s data will be saved on several servers located in different parts of the world.
Focus on Your Business
Cloud computing provides flexibility, scalability, financial savings, disaster recovery, and ease of access, all of which boil down to one thing: you can focus more on running your business and less on worrying about technology. For small businesses, being able to shift some of the responsibilities that come with technology to the IT professionals is a huge relief and allows you to make better use of your resources. In today’s highly competitive world where new businesses seem to be dying, the cloud has become an integral part in the resurgence of small businesses.
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