What is cloud computing?
Cloud computing is web based and allows users to access shared computer applications, storage and other resources through a network of remote servers, rather than each individual user installing hardware and software onto their on-site server and personal computer. It allows the user to store, manage and process data in exactly the same way as traditional computer systems and programs, without the need to buy, install, manage and update a variety of expensive applications on one computer.
In cloud computing, you are renting a service rather than buying a product from providers like BlueJeans Video Conference For Business. You simply pay for what you use and the technical side is all taken care of by the providers, like BlueJeans, that supply the applications. The data and files you create are stored in the cloud and accessed through an internet browser from any device in any location. The following are some of the many benefits to the small business owner that cloud computing provides in terms of accessibility, flexibility, security, cost, time, energy consumption, competitiveness and disaster recovery.
You can also pay a little extra for managed IT services from your cloud provider, should you not have someone on staff to handle this job. These services often include necessary jobs like patching, backup, and migration services, which help keep your network safe. You can also hire your service provider to deal with basic IT jobs like system administration, troubleshooting, desktop support, and general maintenance, depending on your current needs. Getting all of this support in one place makes your job much easier and is well worth the investment for businesses of all sizes.
Easily access and flexible to use
The biggest advantage of cloud computing is the ability to access, modify and save files from any number of devices in any location. Normally, if something has been saved on a personal computer, you can only access the file from that particular computer. This is rather restrictive. Cloud computing opens this up, allowing you to access your files from any phone, tablet, laptop or computer–as long as there’s an Internet connection, you can use any of these devices to access and work on your files and data.
Consider email providers like Hotmail, Gmail, and Outlook: these are all a form of cloud computing. You don’t store your email on your computer; you access it from your computer by connecting to the Internet and logging in to your account in the ether.
Enhances security of your business information
According to Bloomberg, “an estimated 800,000 laptops are lost or stolen every year in airports alone.” If you store all of your data on a laptop or mobile device, this information can be easily stolen and accessed on your computer device. However, if you use cloud computing instead, your laptop is merely a device through which you access and work on your applications–the data itself will not be stolen with the laptop because you require your username and password to get into the cloud where your data is stored. Sure, it will still be really annoying if you have to replace your computer, but not as disastrous a situation if all of your work is lost or stolen as well.
Reduces the business costs of software and hardware purchases
Cloud computing is very affordable and you simply pay for what you need and what you use. If your business expands and you require more, you can pay for more. If you require less, you can scale down and pay for less, as and when required. Nothing is fixed–the flexibility of the cloud makes it an affordable, practical service for small business owners.
Start-up costs are cheap, applications are quick and easy to access and customize–there’s no need to buy expensive software and hardware that you will only use occasionally or for a short period of time; you can simply pick and choose what you need, when you need it. Furthermore, these web-based applications are maintained and updated regularly, so there’s no need to continuously replace out-of-date resources with more expensive programs and technologies–the latest versions are always available on the cloud. You can stay up-to-date, react quickly to change, adapt to emerging trends and quickly meet the demands of your business.
More data loss prevention for your small business
Similar to the security aspect of the cloud, disaster recovery is another excellent benefit. With greater security measures and resilience than you might otherwise be able to afford, should you lose your computer device, or it breaks or fails in some way, your data is secure because it is saved remotely in the cloud, and recovery times are almost 4 times faster for businesses using cloud computing when compared to those not utilizing these services.
Make environmentally conscious choices for your small business
Staying competitive can be difficult for small businesses when they don’t have access to the experts and finances afforded to larger businesses, but cloud computing now makes this a real possibility. The service providers deal with all of the technical side of things, saving you a great deal of money and time to focus on other areas of your business. By using the cloud, you are also doing your bit toward helping the environment. According to Sales Force, “businesses using the cloud will consume 30 percent less energy and produce considerably less carbon emissions than those using on-site servers”.