It's no secret that small businesses are flocking to the cloud!
Cloud computing is a broad term for any platform, software or data storage system hosted on the Internet instead of on internal servers. A cloud-based service not only makes data easier to collaborate and share, but it also makes it simpler to access documents and information from anywhere you have an online connection.
According to a June 2015 survey by The Alternative Board, 87% of the 300 small-business owners surveyed said that they’ve switched to cloud-based systems within the past five years.
Data storage, file sharing and email are the most common uses of cloud technology for small businesses, according to NerdWallet. Dropbox, Microsoft Office and Google top the list as the most popular cloud products for small businesses. NerdWallet also reports that small business owners look for functionality and security more than privacy and cost.
Here are the top reasons your small business should embrace the cloud.
The most common use of the cloud for small businesses is subscription software. Increasingly, small businesses subscribe to software rather than purchasing it and installing it on company services. Subscription software, known as Software-as-a-Service or SaaS, reduces the cash outlay. Your business might pay more over the life of the subscription than they would if they purchased the software outright. However, paying a monthly fee is easier on cash flow. Included in the fee are automatic software updates and IT maintenance performed by the outside vendor instead of an in-house employee or contractor. Additionally, small businesses will see a decrease in rack space and power usage.
The days of being tethered to a desk in a physical office are slipping away. Cloud computing makes accessing data from anywhere on any device possible. As long as there’s an Internet connection, you and your staff can access important documents from any location in the world. This is especially vital if you have traveling workers who need speed and flexibility to perform their job at the highest level possible.
Entrepreneurs starting out used to have to anticipate how much their company might grow to determine long-term investment budgets for hardware and software. Today, business owners can purchase cloud services for their immediate needs and have the flexibility to scale up if their business takes off. Cloud computing can support the ups and downs of business based on seasonality and other factors. In addition to scaling up, the cloud also allows business owners to scale down if a venture isn’t working. Simply cancel your subscription and don’t worry about unused equipment getting dusty in a back closet.
There’s a common misperception that putting things on the cloud is risky and that you should keep anything you don’t want hacked, such as your intellectual property, on premises. With the scale that cloud companies like Google are putting resources into the cloud, they can provide security better and faster than any typical startup. Small companies can take months or years to even uncover a security problem, let alone fix it. By monitoring for problems continuously, cloud-solution providers deliver the security customers need regardless of company size.
Ready to take the leap into cloud computing? Check out Small Business Checklist: 6 Steps for Cloud Adoption from Tech Cocktail, an online publication covering tech innovations, entrepreneurs and startups.
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