How the Cloud Benefits Small Business OperationsSeptember 10, 2019 No Comments
Featured article by Emily Roberts, Independent Technology Author
The introduction of cloud computing has made the limitations of traditional IT infrastructure increasingly apparent. Technology is evolving at a lightning-fast pace and small businesses are struggling to keep up with the subsequent marketplace changes that are brought by new innovations.
Cloud computing helps small businesses stay competitive by offering a more scalable and reliable infrastructure that is geared towards streamlining operations and supporting their growth. You might already be using cloud computing in the form of a certain software suite, such as Slack or the popular Office 365.
This has likely given you a certain view of what it can do for your business, but widening that view can expose you to countless new avenues for efficiency improvements and cost savings. Let’s take a look at a few ways that cloud computing can benefit small business operations.
Eliminates in-House IT Requirements
Having IT infrastructure on your premises, whether it’s as simple as a few hard drives or a full-fledged server, is expensive. Additionally, it often necessitates the need for an IT professional, which further increases the burden on your finances. The cloud allows you to escape these requirements by offsetting operations onto third-party systems.
As a result, you’ll be able to reallocate a great deal of resources to departments that are more focused on the growth of your business. Instead of buying and maintaining software applications and hardware infrastructure, you can lease it through the cloud and move the costs elsewhere.
Improves Information Accessibility
It wasn’t long ago when most business owners and employees had to be at the workplace on a work-owned device to access work-related information. The cloud revolutionized this by allowing anyone with the appropriate credentials to access information from any device in any location at any time.
This means business owners can check-in and carry out operations from home or while traveling to a meeting. This also extends to your workforce, who can now perform their responsibilities without having to be at the office. Additionally, the opportunity for remote employment opens up, which can further increase your bottom line and save you time.
Reduces Concern for Infrastructure Lifecycles
One of the biggest downsides to the pace at which technology evolves is the pace at which it becomes outdated. Since the introduction of on-site hardware, business owners have had to deal with the high costs of having to continually replace that hardware in order to keep up with growth.
This is another costly and time-consuming problem that cloud computing solves. Since the infrastructure you utilize is off-site and outside of your scope of responsibilities, it is no longer a concern for your business, and so the days of planning and budgeting for necessary upgrades will be behind you.
Cloud services are immeasurably more flexible than the traditional solutions that businesses have become used to. Before the cloud, businesses had to waste capital on keeping a sufficient number of servers to ensure they didn’t run into issues at maximum workload – something that seldom occurred anyway.
Cloud servers solve this problem by allowing you to increase and decrease your computing power and storage capacity based on your needs. Cloud-based software allows you to enable and disable user licenses based on when you need to use that software. This is especially helpful to businesses that experience seasonal ups and downs.
This enhanced flexibility also allows you to spread workloads across data centers in separate geographic locations. This ensures the security of your data in the event of a disaster. This level of flexibility was something most small businesses could only dream of affording before the advent of cloud service providers.
In the past, a hardware or software failure meant hours or even days of downtime, as engineers and technicians scrambled to get things running again. For businesses that could afford it, the only way around this option was to have a backup system and an alternative way to access data and software when things went wrong.
For every minute the business was offline, money went down the drain. With the cloud, downtime can be measured in seconds and the need for a costly backup system is no more. In the age of businesses that rely so heavily on technology to operate, this benefit can be life-saving.
Cybersecurity is a major concern for many organizations, and small businesses are no exception to the list of targets. The severity of cyber-attacks is greater than ever, as malicious software such as ransomware can take a company completely out of business. Typical security measures are often expensive to implement and time-consuming to maintain.
Cloud service companies put a strong emphasis on security and provide numerous levels of control in a network infrastructure to prevent security breaches. Since your data is no longer located in on-site devices, physical security is also enhanced greatly.
Furthermore, the cloud helps businesses comply with regulations by taking on the burden of implementing the appropriate security measures to protect the financial data of their customers and the personal data of their employees. This is particularly valuable in the age of GDPR, PCI, SOX and the variety of other compliance standards.
It is estimated that by 2025, around 75% of the workforce will be millennials. The vast majority of new employees are those that grew up with the internet. As a result, their expectations are high when it comes to being able to access information at any time in any location and on any device.
The cloud satisfies this need by opening up the opportunity for employees to easily work from home and perform daily operations while traveling. Having a remote workforce will also benefit business owners who no longer have to spend large amounts of money on office spaces and equipment.
Another benefit is that businesses can now enlist the help of employees to meet organizational needs and overcome workplace challenges by developing their own applications using cloud services. For instance, employees can undertake azure training course to learn how to use the popular cloud software by Microsoft. This is well-worth considering as a small business owner as this course can help an employee in your organization learn the necessary skills required to create innovative solutions that’ll help you further streamline operations. There are a variety of Azure courses to choose from at findcourses.com, and their price, location and duration are all listed on the site.
Since cloud software allows everyone to access the same files on a central location, collaborative efforts between teams are greatly improved in both accuracy and efficiency. Members no longer have to be in the same location to work on a project, thus saving both time and money that would otherwise go to getting around.
Innovations like these will undoubtedly have a transformational effect on the workplace and the overall future of employment. Given how little time cloud computing has been around, it’s easily possible that clever employees will be able to find even more ways to improve their efficiency in this area.
The above benefits make a compelling case for using cloud technology in small businesses. It’s evident that the cloud is a deceptively simple solution that hides a plethora of benefits that every business will find valuable. Perhaps now is a better time than ever to consider implementing it in your company.CLOUD COMPUTING, SOCIAL BUSINESS