5 Benefits of Cloud Computing for Small Businesses

Jan 18, 2019

What is Cloud Computing?

Managing a business is not easy. With high risks and fierce competition, it is crucial for business owners to access data whenever and wherever a need arises. Technology has made this possible nowadays through cloud computing.

Presently, cloud computing is used as a collective name for different services such as:

  • Cloud storage lets users store and back up files, share and sync them across various devices, and regularly access them.
  • Cloud backup is mainly used for backup in case of data loss caused by a crash or cyber attack.
  • Software or platform as a service provides online services such as Google Apps and Office 365.
  • Cloud hosting enables different services such as data storage, email, internet phone systems, and application hosting.

Traditionally, data can only be accessed from the same computer where it was initially saved. With cloud computing, users can rent cloud space from a provider and connect to it over the internet. Data can then be easily stored and retrieved anywhere and anytime. People just have to go online on their computers or even their phones to get the job done.

There are 4 cloud computing models to choose from based on access and infrastructure management.

  • A private cloud is managed by an internal or a third party IT company. This option offers exclusive access as well as more flexibility, and control.
  • A public cloud is managed off-site by a third party provider such as Microsoft or Google.
  • A community cloud is a private cloud shared between several organizations or enterprises.
  • A hybrid cloud is a mix of private and public cloud services. For example, users can utilize the public cloud for emails while keeping more sensitive data in a private cloud.

Cost Savings

Cloud computing may cut down the cost of data management and maintenance. Users can choose their preferred deployment model and customize their storage capacity to match their needs and budget.

Companies can also cut back on costs for system hardware and software. Since data will be stored in the cloud, it minimizes the need for physical servers. It also means lower energy consumption and cost. Moreover, using cloud applications is a cheaper alternative to buying and installing different software. Various cloud computing services now offer multi-applications to meet every possible business needs.

Since there is no need for software and server infrastructure, cloud computing also means less start-up expense.
With cloud computing, maintaining the applications and services is the cloud vendor ’s responsibility. This means that businesses no longer has to pay an expert staff to install and update programs and applications as well as run backups on the servers.

Increased Security

When it comes to security, it is easy to see how cloud-based solutions are better than local systems. It’s obvious, for example, that a cloud computing vendor would have better physical security than an in-house computing system. Cloud vendors and IT providers are both equipped to keep data safe in case of power outages or natural disasters.
With hacking and data theft prevalent nowadays, a username and password combination is no longer enough to keep data secure. Cloud vendors employ multi-factor authentication which combines various methods such as passwords, tokens, and fingerprints to verify users. This level of security is something that a small to medium-sized business usually doesn’t have the resources to implement.

With cloud computing, there’s also no need to worry about data loss in the event of a misplaced or lost physical device. Having cloud storage means that there is always a copy of data that can be easily retrieved on the cloud.
Security patches improve and keep systems up to date as well as fix bugs and security vulnerabilities. Managing patches is a tedious task that includes application and testing. It can also consume a lot of time which small to midsize businesses usually cannot afford. Cloud computing, however, allows comprehensive and efficient solutions that not only reduce downtime but also increase security and productivity.

Flexibility & Mobility

Cloud computing gives employees more flexibility and mobility. Since data is stored in the cloud and applications are web-based, users can easily take their jobs on the go. This is a big advantage especially for employees who usually work in the field. Applications are also made compatible with different devices now so they can be easily accessed using any internet connected device.

Moreover, in case the office server is down, cloud data is up 24/7 and can be retrieved anywhere and anytime. It means less downtime and continued productivity.

Increased Collaboration

Cloud computing just made collaborating easier than ever. With various applications to choose from, workers can share data seamlessly and efficiently. Emails, instant messages, and video conferences allow users to interact and collaborate on projects. They can also easily save, retrieve, and share data among one another. Additionally, cloud computing enables several people to work on the same document at the same time.
Specifically, Microsoft Office 365 has many tools that will help your team collaborate seamlessly [link to blog article].

Sustainability & Maintenance

Depending on the provider, updates to your cloud computing service may be part of the contract. Updates usually are done regularly and automatically on the vendor’s side. Users can, therefore, enjoy the benefits of the service without worrying about the technicalities of maintaining a cloud computing service.

Conclusion

The world is fast-paced, and the internet makes it even faster. Businesses need to keep up to survive.
Cloud computing provides an affordable solution for small to midsize companies not just to store data but to increase efficiency and productivity. In addition, it helps companies save cost on hardware, software, and manpower. It also provides better data protection as compared to locally managed servers.

One of the biggest advantages of cloud computing is its ability to let people access information whenever and wherever. The flexibility and mobility that cloud computing offers increases users’ productivity and efficiency as well as improves collaboration.

And possibly most important of all, cloud computing takes the burden of maintenance off of the users’ shoulders. Users can now focus more on what matters – making the business prosper.