As technology progresses, more and more services are becoming available in the cloud. There are lots of benefits to moving your operations to the cloud, but many still hold onto non-cloud methods such as storing data on a PC instead of safely on the cloud.
Why Move to the Cloud?
There are lots of benefits, but mainly it makes good business sense. You can call it cost saving, doing more with less, efficiency or security. But however you choose to frame it, there is no doubt that cloud computing helps businesses focus on what’s important – the business.
These days, every business is under pressure to maximize the return on its investment to be profitable. There are many reasons you can use to justify moving to the cloud to your boss (or to yourself), and below are some of the best.
This may be the one of the biggest reasons to move to the cloud. Doing more with less is always going to be a factor and cloud computing cuts down costs for many reasons. The most obvious is that many cloud providers benefit from huge economies of scale, and they are therefore able to offer more power at a lower cost.
Also, many cloud services use the “pay-as-you-go” model. This helps increase cost predictability and significantly minimizes the costly overhead of maintaining and updating traditional IT security and infrastructure.
Cloud computing service providers can, at a moment’s notice, provide a business with more of that provider’s services. For example, when using a dedicated server for web hosting, upgrading the server’s CPU or memory would require stopping the server for several hours. With cloud web hosting, upgrading the number of CPU cores or memory you can use happens at the touch of a button – and does not require the server to be taken offline.
This kind of flexibility is crucial. So much so, that 65 percent of respondents to an InformationWeek survey admitted that the ability of cloud storage providers to quickly meet business demands was among the top reasons they moved to the cloud.
This can also provide a high degree of customization. Cloud business applications can easily be configured to fit your business’ unique needs. Whether it is setting specific parameters to meet payroll needs, or programming your applicant tracking system to support your unique recruiting path, today’s cloud-based software is easy to customize.
Many cloud service providers offer small businesses world-class data protection, including physical protection from a business disaster like a fire or flood, multi-factor authentication, advanced encryption and automatic backups, together with identity and access management controls. All these measures allow small businesses to operate safely 24/7.
Cloud service providers are also in the business of continuity. Security updates and server maintenance can be executed seamlessly and without productivity disruption.
Small businesses and companies that rely on cloud service providers are able to recover data lost in a disaster quite quickly. Disaster recovery can be very expensive, but when your data is on the cloud, it doesn’t have to be. In the event of catastrophic data loss caused by malicious virus attacks or natural disasters, you’ll have backups of all your original files so you can quickly restore them with little downtime.
It takes fewer people to complete much more work on the cloud, and most times, there’s a minimal learning curve on software and hardware.
Cloud services significantly increase productivity as a result of real-time business collaboration. Business owners and their employees are able to share and retrieve crucial business information from anywhere, anytime, on any device.
This is done by keeping all company files in one central location so multiple people can work on a given document at the same time. Colleagues can chat among themselves while making necessary changes. This process increases efficiency, strengthens collaboration and improves your bottom line.
Using the cloud allows you to quickly expand operations beyond the four walls of your business. Businesses are now able to compete like never before by being able to access data from anywhere. This allows you to become more responsive and provide world-class customer service to suppliers and customers than larger competitors that aren’t taking advantage of the cloud.
Smoother Mergers and Acquisitions
One of the great sticking points of many mergers and acquisitions is the months, sometimes years, it takes to import records and data from one system to another. Sometimes, the trouble is so great that the complete transfer of records never happens. And this is not only a small business problem. Even government agencies face this problem in a big way. However, transition is smoother and faster with systems in the cloud. End users in the conjoined businesses can easily access a cloud-based system.
Businesses that use the cloud only use the server space that they require. This significantly reduces your carbon footprint. Using cloud services results in 30 percent less carbon emissions and energy consumption compared to businesses that use on-site servers.
So there you have it — now take it to your boss!
Employee Image via Shutterstock
Antony: Do you know how many small business owners are using the cloud nowadays?
While using the cloud does have advantages when it comes to collaborating and accessing data from anywhere, it has a higher risk of security issues. Businesses should seriously think about how many outside entities and their employees and partners could access your confidential business information. Do you trust the cloud provider 100% not to share what you store on their servers with your competitors or compliance agencies?