Are You Underusing The Cloud? Why Small Businesses Need To Get With The Times

Arthur Piccio writes for The Art of Small Business, UPrinting.com’s Small Business Resource. UPrinting business cards are the top choice for small businesses across the United States.

A recent study suggested that around 51% of Americans believe storms affect cloud computing. While that might technically true if a storm disrupts lines and data centers- it seems to indicate a general trend where most don’t really get what cloud computing is.

To emphasize this point – in the same survey, around 9 out of 10 Americans who claim not to use cloud computing technology have actually used it through online purchases.

The real kicker is, the reason most businesses cite for not adopting cloud computing tech is the cost – puzzling considering this technology has brought about a quantum leaps in cost efficiency and convenience.

What is clear though is that a lot of smaller businesses are inadvertently passing up the chance to save money and improve efficiency – and it’s most likely due to a misunderstanding of what cloud computing can do.

As an online printer, we get a significant portion of our business from the “cloud.” We’d be nowhere without it!  While we don’t expect every business to be as heavily invested in cloud computing as we are – it’s safe to say it offers significant advantages for everyone with a secure internet connection.

But a lot of the time, it just plain makes more sense to keep data and use in a location other than the computer you’re immediately using. That’s the reason why most of us use email hosted by a 3rd party, for instance.

But you’d be surprised that a lot of small business owners and entrepreneurs don’t know you can do the same with almost everything.

Cloud computing, as much as I dislike the vagueness of the term, has dramatically lowered barriers that have prevented small businesses from operating as efficiently as much bigger ones.

Using spreadsheet software as an example, smaller operations no longer need to be hobbled by the cost of obtaining licenses to legally use spreadsheet programs that offer the functionality that more expensive tools have.

The fact that these tools are offered in the cloud for free also makes it possible to save on resources that would be otherwise spent standardizing processes in businesses with multiple physical locations. The cost of secure data storage and access is also now so miniscule for the average user, that you can get away with almost no data infrastructure at all, allowing you to put more money into your ideas and making them work.

And this is really just the tip of the iceberg. We deal with printing issues and some of the most common cloud storage tools used by our customers include Apple’s iCloud, Box, Mozy, Windows Sky Drive, SugarSync, GoogleDrive, YouSendIt, Dropbox, and CX. And this is just for storage. Other industries and applications may use these or other tools as well. Most of these tools can be had for free, or at a cost much lower than it would to have these systems conventionally.

It’s a stupid name, yes. But if you truly care about your business, there’s no longer an excuse to be ignorant about The Cloud.

8 Comments ▼

8 Reactions

  1. Hi, Arthur! Thank you so much for spreading the word about how cloud computing can benefit small businesses and for including CX in your blog. Our small business suite focuses on collaboration, with features such as groups, chat and social network sharing that we feel makes businesses work better together, and the 1TB of online storage you get with us is free to try for the first 30 days, no credit card required. For more information on our cloud storage solutions, head here: http://bizcloud.cx.com
    Thanks again, Arthur! We’d love to hear more details on how the cloud has benefited UPrinting.

  2. Cloud computing is definitely the future. All purchases, personal information, medical documents, and everything else will be cloud based. Unfortunately the marketing industry never understood what it really was or how it worked either, hence the lack of public knowledge and the privacy debate that surrounds it.

  3. Spot on with your observations here, small businesses have to adopt cloud technologies or be left behind. I use apps like Freshbooks, ClickDesk and Basecamp for day to day activities for my business – one common aspect – all of them cloud based.

  4. I would recommend checking out Gtdagenda.com for an online task & project manager.

    You can use it to manage your goals, projects and tasks, set next actions and contexts, use checklists, and a calendar.
    Syncs with Evernote, and also comes with mobile-web version, and Android and iPhone apps.

  5. Hello Arthur, This a great article for small businesses because they need to start using the cloud to improve efficiency.
    [Edited by Editor] We would like to have more articles about the cloud

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