Cloud computing is impacting the way people and businesses work. And increasingly, even small businesses are benefiting from the advantages that cloud services offer. While these new tools may seem overwhelming at first glance, they actually simplify many essential needs and functions for businesses of all sizes.
“Using cloud-based applications and services gives small businesses access to almost unlimited computing power and resources that might otherwise not be within reach, or even affordable,” notes Belinda Hardman, Senior Systems Architect for Code Red Consulting and The Design Knowledge Company.
Let’s float three examples of how partnering with the cloud can help a small business:
1. Keep it moving. These days, small-business people take their offices with them — and mobile devices and apps have revolutionized the very concept of “office space.” What’s more, instant turnaround is almost universally expected, whatever the product or service. Here, using the cloud for data storage adds to your flexibility and agility. Meetings can be held just about anywhere; follow-up reports and orders can be done on the spot, rather than hours later. Presentation materials such as easels, projectors, musical players, and boards need not attend, and even last-minute changes of content or venue won’t necessarily wreak havoc. With cloud resources at your beck and call, you and other employees spend less-valuable time chained to a desk or confined to a conference room, resulting in more productivity — and profitability.
2. Stay green. Another planet-sized advantage of working in the cloud: saving resources like paper. And from there, saving money you would previously need to buy it, employees and time to file it, and rent for square footage to house it. Along with a greener planet and a smarter budget, you are now conducting your business in a more socially responsible manner, generating goodwill among customers, community and staff as you go.
3. The future is now. It’s exciting that subscribing to cloud-based services such as email or document storage adds exponentially to your capacity for acquiring orders, speeding up cash flow and maintaining communications. Better yet, the cloud also relieves small-business owners of the expense and pressure of keeping up with technology. What may have seemed impossible, intimidating or cost-prohibitive before can be consigned to the cloud. Confirms Ms. Hardman, “Instead of buying hardware and hiring your own IT staff, for example, a small business can take advantage of resources in the cloud that someone else buys, runs, and maintains for them.”
For even greater peace of mind, the cloud protects valuable data and applications from the unexpected — destructive weather, burst pipes, lost luggage — that might previously have interrupted the flow of your business and damaged your finances. The cloud reinforces your ability to maintain your small business, grow it and help it evolve.