Why Your Small Business Should be Taking Advantage of the Cloud
Let’s say for a minute that you run a catering service. What do you think your most valuable tool would be? Would it be a catering van? A fully equipped kitchen? Or would it be something seemingly extraneous, like a laptop?
The number of caterers who would choose Option #3 might surprise you. These days, computers are becoming an integral part to any business, and a big reason for that is the Cloud.
With the rise of Cloud computing, companies both small and large are now able to do more with less. By procuring web-based computer resources, a business can cut back on its in-house IT expenses. A company can pool resources and share data without the need of a massive data center or the best ultrabook money can buy.
Suffice to say, if your business isn’t taking advantage of Cloud computing yet, now is an excellent time to get started. For instance, here are a few ways you can use the Cloud to help you save money and increase productivity.
1) Backing Up Data. Using the Cloud provides you with web-based storage space for a small monthly fee. This makes it an ideal backup location for your company’s important information. If your data center ever goes down due to a malfunction or natural disaster, all of your tax documents, project plans and other vital information will still be accessible by any computer with an Internet connection. You simply need to set your computers to automatically update the Cloud as you work and your data will safe and secure.
2) Sharing Information. One of the biggest advantages to the Cloud is that its data can be accessed by any authorized user from anywhere in the world. This makes working on projects across multiple offices a breeze. Everyone has access to the same information that they can edit and update as needed. You don’t need to worry about emailing large files or saving data onto physical drives and then mailing those through the post.
3) Freeing Up Computer Space. Large projects like promotional videos and other media will quickly eat up a computer’s hard drive, which in turn will slow it down significantly. By storing these big files on the Cloud, you can keep your four year-old laptops running strong. Free from the burden of massive amounts of stored data, they’ll be able to access the files you need every day quickly and efficiently.
4) Facilitating Mobile Offices. When you can access the Cloud from anywhere, you can work from anywhere. Does one of your employees want to start their Christmas vacation early to beat the rush? That’s not a problem with the Cloud. They can still access and update their important files from their parents’ farm in Montana or wherever they happen to be.
5) Cutting Costs by Going Virtual. Cloud providers like Apple and DropBox make money by charging users a monthly fee for a set amount of data. When you calculate all the of the money you would spend by maintaining a physical data center – IT Staff, power bill, maintenance, etc. – subscribing to a Cloud is often cheaper. Additionally, Clouds can be expanded infinitely, allowing you to acquire more data as your company grows.
Cloud computing is a developing technology. There are certainly risks involved – most obviously that if the Cloud provider’s data center crumbles then your data will vanish along with it. However, the savings and utility that Cloud computing can offer small businesses can’t be overlooked. So if you don’t use the Cloud yet, start doing your research. You might be surprised at just how useful it may be.