Here, we’re going to demystify some of the stigma surrounding “the cloud” from the perspective of a small-to-medium-sized business owner, because we know much of what’s out there about the subject is white noise. If you’re the proprietor of a small- or medium-sized company, you may not necessarily be a tech expert – and that’s okay – but you are undoubtedly aware of the fact that you need an IT infrastructure in order to operate. From our experience, many businesses are “afraid” of the cloud primarily because they believe they’re exposing themselves to risks they aren’t willing to take, and it’s this fear that unfortunately leads to their missing out on some great benefits.
In a nutshell, small- and medium-sized businesses can increase productivity and boost their competitive edge by making the leap to the cloud; in fact, it is believed (based on a Microsoft SMB Study) that by 2020, some 78-percent of small businesses will be taking advantage of cloud computing. Would it come as a surprise to you to learn that a large majority of “SMBs” are currently utilizing at least one cloud-based application? It’s true. And that number is likely to increase, given that SMBs have a lot to look forward to with regard to cloud flexibility, cost efficiency and scalability.
Has this piqued your interest yet? How about the fact that many experts in the IT industry are calling cloud computing “the best thing for small businesses since the creation of the stapler”? That’s a big claim, indeed – but after we’re finished documenting how using the cloud can grant you access to your business data and applications from anywhere at any time from any mobile device, at a reasonable price, as well as the way the cloud provides access to technologies that were previously out of your reach, we are certain you too will begin to see the light.
How the Cloud Saves You Money
- No More Software – Aside from the convenience of not having to purchase software programs and install them on your own servers and computers, using cloud applications can be cheaper.
- Consolidate Your Separate Application Needs Into One Multi-Application Cloud Computing Service – A good example of this is G Suite by Google Cloud, which includes email, a calendar scheduling application, Google Docs and Google Sites for creating websites – all for only $5 per month for each person on your account. Other traditional office application examples include Office 365 and Skype.
- Cut Back on System Hardware – Through the cloud, someone else’s servers are used to store all your files, data backup and software programs, freeing up your in-house computer equipment for other purposes or even letting you get rid of some of it.
- Make Integration Easier – Because many cloud applications include an Application Programming Interface (API), you may be able to find “compatible” applications as opposed to paying to have applications customized for you.
- No More Time and Money Spent on Updating – Cloud applications are regularly updated, giving you the advantage of always having access to an application’s latest features and functions.
Other Cloud Advantages
- Because they are browser-based, cloud applications are accessible from mobile devices like smartphones and tablets, enabling you to access accounting data from any mobile device and send invoices, track expenses and more – on the run.
- Microsoft offers mobile versions of office applications, such as Office for iPad, so accessing office applications via a browser on a mobile device isn’t a less-than-ideal user experience.
- It’s a lot easier and faster to sign up for a cloud computing application than to buy a server, get it up and running and install software on it – and because you don’t need to buy hardware and software, your startup or expansion is cheaper, too.
We hope that we have made the case for cloud applications for small-to-medium-sized businesses.