It is difficult to read through a computer magazine or the technology section of a business magazine without the term “Cloud” popping up. It is fair to say that many SMB’s are still unsure about what the Cloud is, how it relates to their specific business and most importantly how it can benefit them. This post will tell you how.
The Cloud is just a metaphor for the Internet, thus cloud computing is simply computing over the Internet. It will enable you to store, run and access all your data without the need of a computer hard drive. Uses range from your Microsoft applications and data storage to your custom database and telephone systems, all accessible wherever you are. If you are using programs such as Gmail, Facebook or Dropbox, you are using the Cloud, even if you did not know it yet…
It is not easy for start-ups and more established firms to keep costs down, and in the past, it was even more difficult for SMB’s to take advantage of information technology. Now thankfully, this is not the case. As the importance of technology becomes ever greater and technological advancements are in full swing, the opportunity for SMB’s to take full advantage of it and add value with their I.T is there. Here are 5 ways how the Cloud can benefit your business:
Reduce IT costs
The Cloud eliminates the need for in-house server-based systems, which are expensive to buy and to maintain. Furthermore, with the Cloud, nothing is fixed - you simply pay for what you need and what you use. If your business expands and you require more, you can pay for more, and vice-versa. Many third-party Cloud providers will also supply you with the software your business needs without the need to purchase extra licenses. This includes Microsoft applications, anti-virus and anti-spam software. The vast majority of SMBs operate with limited budgets and the Cloud means there is little need for capital investment in expensive hardware and software. Funds that would previously have been used to assemble IT infrastructure can be invested elsewhere.
Whereas previously businesses had to either employ an I.T technician or use a third party on-site I.T service provider to perform all their upgrades, the Cloud means this is no longer necessary. Your network can not only be monitored and maintained remotely, but also upgrades can be performed remotely, easily and, depending on the provider, free of charge. This ensures your organisation remains technologically up-to-date at minimal cost.
Greater agility and flexibility
Whether you are at home or on the move, the Cloud enables you to access your work data anywhere, any time on any device. This frees up employees to work from various locations and maximises their working productivity.
Keeping business sites safe and secure is a priority for all business owners and each SMB that runs their own IT in-house is responsible for its own security. Most of these companies cannot afford to spend thousands on safeguarding their systems holding their and their customers’ data. Yet cloud providers can. The majority of cloud service providers will store their customers’ data in highly secure data centres, which provide both greater physical security and greater protection from outside cyber-attacks. Cloud service providers spend thousands to provide the peace of mind their customers require to make sure their data is as safe and secure as possible.
Ensure business continuity
Many organisations do not have a remote site to use for business continuity and disaster recovery of their mission critical data and in today's business world, companies are expected to operate 24/7 and wholly trust their backup and recovery processes. The cloud makes this possible in the most economical way. Cloud providers will continually back-up and replicate your data to other locations, safeguarding your data in the event of something disastrous. This means the impact such events will be minimised, your operations can be back up and running quickly and your mission critical data will not be lost.
The Cloud is a game-changer and it is SMB’s who stand to benefit the most from cloud-based technologies. Why? Because it helps level the playing field. It is now possible for your 10-strong accountancy firm, for example, to have similar technological capabilities as their large enterprise competitors in cost, security, flexibility and advancements – this simply has not been possible until now.
As a technology enthusiast, we specialise in helping SMB’s make the full use of the technology that is out there. Here at HTL Support, we are experienced in working alongside businesses in multiple sectors to provide the right and most cost-effective infrastructure to make running and growing your business as easy as possible.
If you are looking to set up or upgrade to a cloud system within your workplace, please get in touch.