The benefits of cloud computing are too advantageous to ignore.
For a small business owner, making decisions about where to invest their time and money to keep their business afloat can be a constant battle. Without the resources that are available within larger, more established companies, small businesses and start-ups often struggle to survive, never mind make a profit. There is, however, an effective way of saving time and money while increasing productivity that many small business owners are missing out on. Sounds too good to be true?
More and more businesses around the world have discovered the advantages of working in the cloud. While the technology has been around for a number of years, cloud computing is becoming increasingly mainstream and a number of corporate companies have made the switch. Large organisations, especially those that operate across borders and time zones, are attracted by the ease of collaboration and communication between colleagues, offered by cloud computing. It is for the small business owner, however, that cloud computing really comes into its own. The benefits of cloud computing are too advantageous to ignore.
It saves you money
Traditional IT applications tend to be complicated and expensive and require a variety of hardware and software, as well as a team of experts to install, configure, test, run, secure, and update them. Even for the technologically disinclined, cloud computing is easy. It’s easy to install, easy to maintain and easy to manage. This saves you money – there is no need for a large IT team or substantial budget. You pay only for what you need to use and this is delivered through the cloud.
You can access what you need when you need it
Entrepreneurs and small business owners are always ‘on’ – always thinking, responding, reacting and planning ahead. Cloud computing is a perfect match. There is no scheduled downtime or maintenance time required. Power outages will not affect access to your data, which means that you will always have access. So you can work on that document while sitting in the dentist’s waiting room.
Flexibility is king
Flexibility is very important for a small business. The ability to be able to work from anywhere, at any time, with any person is what keeps many small businesses afloat, especially in the early days. The cloud is pervasive, so you can access documents and data from a range of devices, including laptops, desktops, smart phones and tablets, in any location where wifi is available. This means people can work where they want to – between meetings, at home, on the train – it’s the ultimate flexible working solution.
Collaborate with anyone, any time, any place
For many small businesses, their success depends on the ability of a group of people to collaborate together, each bringing their ideas and skills to a project. Using cloud computing, it’s possible for people to work together on the same document, online, in real time, from anywhere and through any device. People can also discuss a project through chat, video chat, and email.
With all of this good stuff - always on, always available, collaborate with whoever - you must be wondering about security. Security was one of the big issues for people when cloud computing first came out. Today though there is enough assurance provided through government and agency certification to put anyone’s mind at rest. Google Apps, for example, are SSAE 16 Type II-audited, ISO 27001 certified and achieved Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA) certification from the US Government, the Act that regulates cyber security.
People will only have access to your documents and data if you give them access. Cloud computing means that because everything you own is in the cloud, you have a built-in disaster recovery policy. If your building should be washed away in a tsunami, if your baby drops your smart phone down the toilet, or if you should leave your laptop in the back of a taxi, your data is still safe. The most updated version of any document recently worked on is automatically saved, and you, or anyone you give permission to, can access it anywhere.
The next decade of cloud computing promises new ways to collaborate everywhere, through whatever device that comes onto the market. Cloud computing is no longer the future, it’s the now. If you own a small business, you should be seriously considering cloud computing as an option.
Grove is an technology company who specialise in the implementation of Cloud technologies. Grove is a leading Google Apps Premier Partner and Reseller. Grove are ranked 13th in the Deloitte Fast50, with offices in London, Africa and USA.
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