If you hear “cloud computing” and to glaze over, it’s time to understand that cloud computing isn’t really all that complicated. More importantly, it’s time to understand the benefits of moving to the cloud for your small business.
What Is Cloud Computing?
Odds are you’re already using cloud computing, even if you’re not quite sure what it is. For example, when you check your bank account on your smartphone, you’re in the cloud. When you update your profile on social media sites, you’re using cloud computing—and if you’re using apps to help you manage your business or sending promotional emails, you’re probably already using cloud computing in your business.
So, what precisely is cloud computing? Salesforce provides a good working definition:
“Simply put, cloud computing is computing based on the internet. Where in the past, people would run applications or programs from software downloaded on a physical computer or server in their building, cloud computing allows people access to the same kinds of applications through the internet.”
Why Should I Move My Small Business to the Cloud?
Only you can decide what’s best for your business, but you should know that businesses which are not leveraging cloud technology are becoming something of a rarity. According to research from cloud solutions provider RightScale, for example, more than 93 percent of businesses are currently using cloud technology.
Those businesses aren’t moving to the cloud because it’s the latest fad. They’re doing so because cloud computing offers critically important benefits for their companies, including the following 7:
- It provides flexibility as your needs change: in a recent survey, IT Directors and CIOs cited “operational agility” as their primary reason for moving to the cloud. As your business grows, so will your bandwidth needs. Cloud computing makes it easy to quickly scale up your capacity, drawing from the cloud provider’s remote services. You can also scale down with equal ease if you need to.
- It enables robust disaster recovery: an unplanned disaster can be catastrophic for small businesses. Before the advent of cloud computing, investment in robust disaster recovery was prohibitively expensive for these companies. With cloud computing, small businesses can now implement effective disaster recovery solutions without large, upfront investments.
- It ensures automatic software and security updates: with cloud computing, the servers your business relies on are off-premises and maintained by your supplier. That means you get regular software and security updates without the hassles you’d have if you had to handle them yourself. It also means you have more time to focus on your core business operations.
- It saves you money on hardware: moving your small business to the cloud obviates the need for costly capital expenditures for hardware. With cloud computing, you simply “pay as you go” based on a subscription model.
- It promotes increased employee engagement and collaboration: when you subscribe to cloud computing services, members of your team can work anywhere, any time as long as they have an internet connection. That means you can increase employee engagement (and, arguably, retention)by offering your workers flexible work schedules and telecommuting opportunities. It also means your teams can easily access, edit and share documents, creating a more collaborative working environment.
- It enhances security: when you move your business to the cloud, your sensitive data is stored off-premises rather than on desktop and laptop computers. If one of your company’s computers is lost or stolen, you can still access your data, and you can remotely wipe data to ensure it isn’t compromised.
- It gives your business a competitive advantage: working with a cloud supplier means your business will have access to enterprise-class technology you couldn’t afford on your own. More importantly, because you’ll be using the same technologies as larger, more established businesses, and because your smaller size gives you the advantage of being more nimble, you’ll gain a decided competitive advantage.
If your small business isn’t operating in the cloud, it’s time to rethink your strategy. Moving to the cloud will make your business more agile and competitive, provide an effective disaster recovery solution, secure your data, encourage team collaboration and save you money.
A solid cloud strategy is one way to build your brand and grow your business. Another is to partner with an experienced hosting provider. To learn more about the ways our cloud, managed hosting, web hosting, and security and compliance services can help you achieve your business objectives and grow your business, contact us today.