Cloud computing is transforming the way small companies do business. Currently, 37% of U.S. small businesses have fully adapted to cloud computing, and an Intuit study predicts the number will jump to 80% by 2020.
Cloud computing is computing based on the Internet, instead of running programs from computers or software downloaded on a physical computer or server in your building. If you’ve ever updated your Facebook status or used Gmail, you’ve used cloud computing.
You may be wondering how changing from a physical to a virtual system can enhance your business performance. Single Path recommends these 12 reasons for making the switch.
1. Lower Costs
The cloud offers you significant savings. Instead of making a huge capital investment every three to five years for new hardware, you’ll pay a monthly fee for your IT service. Better yet, encourage your employees to bring their own devices (BYOD). The cloud gives you a more predictable budget and better cash flow. You’ll also reduce costs for installation, maintenance, hardware, upgrades and support.
2. Better Collaboration
When employees save and access files in the cloud, everyone can easily work from the same master document. Users can upload, edit and make comments, making the cloud perfect for building collaboration.
3. Document Control
When you move to cloud computing, all files are stored centrally and everyone sees the same version. You won’t have to worry about sending files back and forth and emailing attachments that can only be worked on by one person at a time, or confusing file content, formats and titles. Additionally, employers can track and manage individual progress on assignments, and limit which documents employees can access.
4. Improved Flexibility
Today’s employees expect the ability to access any document from any device at any time. If you’re in the cloud, they can. The cloud makes it easy for employees to work from anywhere 24/7, and for business owners to run their business 24/7, from anywhere.
In addition, it’s easy to scale your cloud capacity up or down as needed. In fact, CIOs and IT directors rank “operational agility” as a top driver for cloud adoption.
5. Greater Integration
Businesses in the cloud can integrate with various cloud-based providers to get help with everything from human resources to marketing to accounting. With other companies handling your business operations, you’ll have more time to focus on other business priorities.
6. Disaster Recovery
Every business should invest in a disaster recovery plan, but it’s not so easy for smaller businesses that lack the money and expertise.
The cloud solves this problem. According to the Aberdeen Group, small businesses are twice as likely as larger companies to have implemented cloud-based backup and recovery systems. The cloud saves time, takes care of backups and disaster recovery together, avoids large initial investments and third-party expertise is built into the service.
7. Automatic Software Updates
When your servers aren’t in your office, you don’t have to maintain them. Cloud suppliers handle everything for you and provide regular software updates—including security updates—so you can focus on running your business.
Cloud-based businesses don’t have to worry about lost devices and the data they contain. Should a device go missing, you can access data from anywhere, and you can remotely wipe the device. In addition, cloud providers must meet stringent requirements for monitoring and security, affording you enterprise-level protection.
The cloud gives small businesses access to the same technology that was once only available to enterprise-level competitors. It levels the playing field and makes your business more nimble.
10. Environmentally Friendly
When you’re in the cloud and your needs fluctuate, your server capacity scales up or down to match. So you only use the energy you need.
Speaking of fluctuating needs, when you’re business is in the cloud, you can add or remove resources and employees easily, without making any large investments.
With hardware, security, backup, disaster recovery, updates and other IT issues off your plate, the cloud frees you to run your business instead of worrying about IT issues.
If you’re thinking it’s time to move your business to the cloud, ask Single Path about our Managed/Cloud Services. In our next post we’ll discuss the risks of cloud computing, and how to prepare for them.