Unsure what the cloud is or how it can help your company? Not to worry: we’ve got you covered when it comes to cloud computing and its benefits .
My customers at Apple frequently asked me to explain what the cloud was. They’d seen “iCloud” on their devices but had no idea what it was for, what it did, or where the cloud was.
To be fair, I don’t think the big tech companies that helped make cloud computing a reality for the average consumer did a particularly good job of explaining what it is. That’s exactly why I’m here. I’ll go over everything you need to know about the cloud and its benefits for small businesses.
The 7 benefits of cloud computing for small businesses.
- Data security
- Remote access
- Little to no maintenance
- Reduced IT costs
- Disaster recovery
Overview: What is cloud computing?
The atmosphere. This enigmatic realm where all of our data appears to reside. Some people don’t understand it, while others are terrified of it. But what exactly is “the cloud”? To put it simply, cloud computing is a method of remotely hosting and storing files, as well as running programmed on third-party hardware via the internet.
Instead of storing your files on your phone or computer, they are stored in large data centers that are accessible from anywhere in the world at any time.
This idea has even evolved into newer concepts such as cloud-based gaming, in which third-party cloud servers and computers stream gaming capabilities to your computer via the internet. Isn’t it incredible?
However, for the purposes of this article, we’ll concentrate on cloud computing and its benefits as it relates to small businesses, because it has forever changed the way we do business.
You may be wondering why you should migrate to the cloud when your mid-2010 PCs and simple little in-office servers have served you well up to this point. Not to worry, we’ve compiled a list of seven distinct advantages of cloud computing that you should consider for your small business.
It’s time to take that leap into the future!
7 benefits of cloud computing for small businesses
Here are the benefits cloud computing offers small businesses.
Benefit 1: Data security
Contrary to popular belief, using a cloud platform for data storage and business operations is a very secure method. While no one will take your security as seriously as you, intention and practical ability are not the same thing.
The number of cybersecurity threats on the market grows by the year, especially in the aftermath of COVID-19, and it’s difficult to manage your own data security without significant resources.
Companies such as Amazon, Microsoft, Apple, and other large corporations that deal in cloud technology, whether through Software as a Service (SaaS) or Platform as a Service (PaaS), have more resources to mitigate, detect, and eliminate cybersecurity threats than most small businesses.
They are constantly researching new threats, developing new encryption solutions, and continuously monitoring for potential intrusions into their systems, all with the goal of keeping your data safe and secure.
You can leave these concerns to your cloud provider instead of constantly updating your own data server hardware, worrying about encryption, monitoring network traffic, and maintaining all of your software updates.
You’ll never be able to keep up with a specialized corporate data security team unless you’ve already hired a top-tier IT and cybersecurity team that understands your network structure and data policies inside and out.
So, instead of funneling tons of money dealing with physical data storage, server maintenance, and security, it is highly beneficial to rely on cloud computing for data protection.
Benefit 2: Remote access
Your email account is an excellent metaphor for cloud computing. If you have your login credentials and an internet connection, you can access your centralized email account from any computer. This ease of use is what makes cloud computing so appealing to many businesses.
Instead of leaving work on a desktop computer or a local area network (LAN) server that isn’t connected to the internet, the cloud allows you and your employees to access it from anywhere in the world.
This remote access leads to increased productivity and workspace flexibility. If you work in a white collar environment, you’re probably using cloud computing to work from home during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Cloud computing makes everyday business operations possible from anywhere, so you don’t have to worry about pandemics, floods, office fires, or giant tornadoes that wipe your office off the face of the map. So long as your data is stored in the cloud, it is accessible.
Benefit 3: Little to no maintenance of cloud computing
Remember what I said about cloud computing’s security? Well, regular server maintenance, software updates, and network management are all part of that security. Fortunately, cloud computing removes all of that upkeep from your plate and places it in the hands of trained professionals.
Because none of it is hosted by you, you don’t have to worry about purchasing new equipment every three to four years. You don’t have to deal with any of that maintenance, which gives your company more time to focus on the product or service it offers.
This is the peace of mind you require, especially if your company is new and you lack the manpower to deal with extensive equipment updates.
Benefit 4: Reduced IT costs
While I wouldn’t recommend that you eschew an IT team altogether, the demands on that team are far lighter when you move most of your operations to the cloud.
As I mentioned before, there is far less maintenance involved with cloud computing since you won’t have any data servers or other typical physical IT needs (outside of your standard office networking needs).
This means you won’t need a large IT team, nor will they have to occupy their time dealing with the logistics, upkeep, and protection of onsite hosting and data storage.
Benefit 5: Disaster recovery
Downtime is never good for a company. All it means is wasted money and lost productivity. Luckily, operating in the cloud will give you peace of mind when disaster strikes.
I mentioned before that no matter if your office burns to the ground or is swept away to Munchkin Land by a tornado, you’ll still have access to your data since all of it is stored remotely on third-party servers. Regardless of the disaster or setback, cloud applications will give your company a sense of resilience against the elements.
Benefit 6: Collaboration and transparency
Remember the old days of sharing versions of a document over email and not knowing what was being changed and when? Remember when those processes would lead to duplications of effort since no one but the immediate user could view and edit those documents?
All of that is in the past thanks to cloud computing. Cloud computing improves team collaboration and transparency of work between teams. No matter if you’re dealing with sales strategy or lead management, cloud computing will give you the power to share this information with everyone on your teams in real time.
A great example of this is the Google Doc I am writing this article on. I write the content here, my editor can then go into this same online document and make any changes they think are necessary, then pass along this same link to the publishing team to input the content into our content management system.
While this is happening I can pop back into the document to check on the progress of the edits and respond to questions in real time, and why? Cloud computing! This document lives on the internet and anyone with the right credentials can access it.
This is much easier than the old days of shuffling around Word documents over email.
Benefit 7: Scalability
Hosting your own data locally on your own servers is not only costly and time-consuming, but it also consumes valuable office space that could be better used as additional desk space or backup storage.
Not only that, but as your operation expands, so must your locally hosted infrastructure, adding to the cost, hassle, and encroached space. This causes a scalability issue.
Because of its simple scalability, cloud computing eliminates these challenges. The infrastructure is already in place at a remote data center, and all you need to do is negotiate more space with your third-party host.
No need to buy more equipment or plot out where you’ll put new servers and how to power it all. It’s as easy as clicking and growing.