Cloud technology used to be the ‘systems of the future’, but the reality is that the cloud is ‘here and now’, allowing businesses to beef up their data security, streamline their operations and concentrate on growth. How?
The traditional method of managing IT systems is running applications such as accounting, payroll and even word processing applications from software installed on a computer or server located onsite.
Cloud technology, on the other hand, allows you to access the same kind of applications through the internet. Think of it as a host of computers in different locations, secured and working together to allow to access any data that you own at any given time, from any connected device.
Most of us use cloud technology every day. When you update Facebook or Instagram or send an email from your Gmail account, you’re using the cloud. When you use the cloud for work-related tasks, the process is exactly the same. You login securely and perform the tasks that you need to.
Pretty cool right? Cloud computing increases efficiency, helps with cash-flow and offers many more benefits. Here are 10 of the best:
1. Disaster recovery
Your computer hard disk fails, the dog chewed up the external backup and you have lost every single bit of data from leads to stock inventory. You need to pay a technician to recover the data and you then need to invest in a proper backup server, while at the same time trying to salvage your business. It sounds like a nightmare situation, but it is one that happens all too often.
Big business usually has this covered with its own IT Department, but it’s not that easy for smaller businesses. This is where the cloud comes in handy. Cloud technology will backup your data and have it ready in the event that something should go wrong. It can be transferred back to you in a matter of minutes. It is also cost-effective and avoids the need for expensive storage servers and IT experts allowing you to concentrate on growing your business.
2. Cloud computing is much cheaper
Using cloud computing services slashes business costs because you do not need to shell out on expensive hardware. You simply pay as you go each month, quarter or financial year and subscribe to a model which fits into your cash-flow revenues.
You also do not have to pay for an IT guru to service and maintain your network and everything will be looked after by the company that you subscribe to. Space is also at a premium, so that’s something to consider too. If you migrate to the cloud, you suddenly have more available floor space.
3. Cloud solutions are flexible
Cloud-based services are ideal for businesses which are still in the growth stage, or experience fluctuations in activity, such as those that are seasonal. Using cloud services allows you to scale up or down your activity and save money as a result. The ability to respond to changing business scenarios with agility is the hallmark of a successful enterprise.
4. Work from anywhere at any time
With cloud computing, if you’ve got an internet connection you can do work. Most cloud services also offer apps so you can even use your smartphone or a tablet to do what you need to do if you are not at a computer terminal.
Not only can you have more flexibility, but you can also offer flexible hours to your employees so they can enjoy a better work-life balance without an impact on productivity. Studies have shown that on average, workers are willing to take a 6% pay cut in return for working remotely and saving money on commuting.
5. Being on the cloud offers security
If you lose your work laptop with all your sensitive data, you are facing a massive problem. Not only have you lost an expensive piece of equipment, you have also lost priceless data.
Cloud computing gives you greater security when this happens. Because your data is stored in the cloud, you can access it no matter what happens to your machine. And you can even remotely wipe data from lost laptops so it doesn’t get into the wrong hands.
6. Document control
The more employees and partners collaborate on documents, the greater the need for document control. Before the cloud, workers sent files back and forth as email attachments to be worked on by one user at a time. Before long, things get messy with people sending the wrong drafts, different formats and different documents on titles. When you make the move to cloud computing, all files are stored centrally and everyone sees one version of them. Greater visibility means improved collaboration, which ultimately means better work and a healthier bottom line. If you’re still relying on the old way, it’s a good time to get more streamlined.
7. Automatic software updates
The beauty of cloud technology is that you just don’t have to worry about maintenance. Suppliers take care of it for you and roll out regular software updates – including security updates – leaving you free to focus on the things that matter, like growing your business.
8. Increased collaboration
When your teams can access, edit and share documents anytime, from anywhere, they’re able to do more together, and do it better. Cloud-based work and file sharing apps help them make updates in real time with full visibility to others.
Moving to the cloud gives access to enterprise-class technology, for everyone. It also allows smaller businesses to act faster than big, established competitors. Pay-as-you-go service and cloud business applications mean small outfits can take on big business and disrupt the market while remaining lean and nimble.
10. Environmentally friendly
Cloud technology is kinder to the environment too. When your cloud needs fluctuate, your server capacity scales up and down to fit. So you only use the energy you need and you don’t leave oversized carbon footprints. You also use less paper and you also use less hardware which eventually needs to be disposed of.
Not moved to the cloud yet?
Any one of the above benefits will give your business a better position to work from, but when you look at all 10 of them, then the decision should be a no-brainer. Free yourself from clutter, needless tasks, and time-consuming practices and move to the cloud. You will feel the benefits from Day One!