In simple terms, cloud computing means using the internet to run programs or applications and fetch data that is stored on remote servers instead of the local computers in your office.
Most people, including owners of small businesses who harbor doubts about employing cloud computing, are not aware that they are already using it for various applications like email, social media, online banking, or even using maps to get driving directions. Let’s discuss the principal benefits of moving to the cloud:
One of the biggest problems that small businesses have is predicting business volumes because of lack of trends or even because the business is cyclical or seasonal. This can make business operations constrained because building capabilities in-house that can cater to peak demands may be very difficult and sub-optimal. When you are on the cloud, scaling capacity up and down to meet demand dynamics is very easy. Cloud computing gives businesses a level of operational agility that is very useful in gaining a competitive edge.
Not every business appreciates how dependent the business is on data and information processing. They also take its uninterrupted availability for granted. Unfortunately, data disasters can strike at any point in time whether due to crashes of hardware/software or breaches by outsiders. While it can be pretty expensive to implement rigorous disaster recovery programs at the business level, implementing cloud-based solutions for data backup and recovery is not only simple and quick but very cost-effective.
Get Software Updates Automatically
One of the biggest advantages of cloud computing is that since the servers are not on the business premises, small business owners need not worry about either hardware maintenance or software updates as these are taken care of by the service provider. This facility frees up a lot of time so that they can focus on more productive things and not spend money for expensive internal resources that would otherwise have to be devoted to such tasks.
Another significant benefit of moving your computing platform to the cloud is that now your entire team can get access to the documents for editing and sharing at any time they require as long as they are connected to the internet. Suddenly you will find that your sales force who may be in remote locations not requiring to keep on asking the head office for every little information that they require. With the help of cloud computing and tools like Salesforce metadata API, collaboration can be achieved in real-time, and with full knowledge of all the collaborators. The freedom to work from anywhere can also mean far greater flexibility to the workforce.
Better Control over Documents
Before the advent of cloud computing, email was the only way of exchanging documents between the workforce, and sooner or later the accumulation of documents that look the same leads to confusion and errors. Cloud computing has made online document collaboration easier, especially when the workforce is distributed over different time zones. Apart from superior document control, the business ends up with better security since only authorized personnel can access the information with proper login credentials.
No Capital Expenditure Required
When you move to the cloud, you need to just pay for whatever you are using and there is no need for you to buy the expensive hardware, software, and communications equipment. As at a single stroke, you can eliminate the need to make any capital expenditure, which can assume frightening proportions for any small business.
It is clearly evident that cloud computing has a host of benefits for small businesses. Business owners can achieve better efficiency and productivity as well as take care of information security while not needing to take care of hardware and software maintenance and updating. The bonus is that this can all be done at a far lesser cost than having it all in-house.