This is one of the questions asked most often by my clients and an area I have a lot of experience in. My business started to store its data files in cloud in 2004. It is not because I could predict the future or had a passion to be a green company. The reason was much more practical. We had four hurricanes in South Florida that year and I was very concerned about the safety of my client’s documents.
It did take almost a year to scan all of those files, but the efficiency gained was well worth it. It took several more years to experiment with hosting all of the software programs we were using on the various computers in my office, as there are a number of ways to make cloud computing work.
Some of the major advantages of cloud computing for small businesses are significant cost savings and increased efficiency.
Create a Virtual Office
The recent trend over the past few years is for employees to work from home or on the go meetings outside the office with their customers. As wireless Internet is available in a most coffee shops, hotels, and offices, it becomes easy to conduct business almost anywhere. You are able to access files and programs from anywhere and can provide face-to-face personalized service with your customers.
Save a Significant Amount of Expenses
- Rent – An office without walls saves the average small business owner thousands of dollars a year in rent by either reducing or eliminating the amount of space they need.
- Working Capital – Most cloud-based services offer pay-as-you-go plans that do not require significant outlays for software and have no long-term obligations. You can also pay for only the storage you need and add more later as the need arises.
- Save Lots of Money in Hardware – Your programs and data are not stored on your computer which means you do not have to upgrade as often as you may have had to do in the past, and you can use less expensive computers since all of the storage and computation power is done from the cloud. You no longer have to throw away thousands of dollars on hardware and software and you no longer have to worry about running out of disk space or memory.
- Reduced Ongoing Maintenance Costs – Your monthly plan includes your maintenance which results in significantly less worries about hard drive crashes, and down time and provides instant support at no additional cost, which significantly lowers your ongoing IT costs. It also eliminates the time needed for software updates and installation issues.
Improve Your Security
All of your files are backed up automatically every day as well as to an offsite data center. This reduces your chances of data loss. This is a key area since many businesses do not back up daily or do not check the reliability of the data they back up. If you lost your data, how much would it cost to be unable to service your customers? Also, the providers use up-to-date highly reliable and secure means to do this. It is much easier for your local machine to get viruses or hacked because you lack the resources needed to safeguard your system.