Cloud computing is a bit of a buzzword these days, but cloud technology is already delivering real benefits for growing businesses. It's improving business communications, boosting teamwork and increasing productivity.
Despite the benefits, four in ten small business owners don't understand what cloud computing means for their business, according to PeoplePerHour.com research.
What is Cloud Computing?
Cloud computing is a general term for anything that involves delivering hosted services over the Internet. Cloud computing is simply getting IT services, such as email, customer relationship management or web conferencing, over the internet. Instead of buying hardware and software up front, you pay a monthly charge based on the number of users. The name cloud computing was inspired by The Cloud symbol that's often used to represent the Internet in flowcharts and diagrams.
Benefits of Cloud Computing
REDUCED IT COSTS
Using cloud services can help your business reduce its IT expenditure. Having your business applications provided over the internet means you would no longer need to be installed across your business software. You can also reduce your hardware and software requirements and your on going costs - maintenance and other upgrades can be managed off-site by is as a Cloud Computing service provider.
Cloud computing allows your business to easily up-scale or downscale your IT requirements as and when required. We can manage any changes you require throughout the business should your needs change.
ACCESS TO NEW TECHNOLOGIES
Cloud computing can help ensure that you always have access to the latest technology. You would no longer need to worry about updating your software or investing in new back-end technology - we can manage this on your behalf.
MORE FLEXIBLE WORKING PRACTICES
Cloud computing allows your employees to be more flexible - both in and out of the workplace. Employees can access files using web-enabled devices such as smart phones, laptops and netbooks. The ability to simultaneously share documents and other files over the internet can also help support both internal and external collaboration. We can set up your system so that members of staff can work almost anywhere, as long as they can secure an Internet connection. This is useful for staff members working on the road, but also during winter months when staff members struggle to get into work due to bad weather.
Cloud services can provide your business with enterprise-level back-up. While there are some concerns around data protection, cloud computing can give your business access to professionally managed back-up for all of your business information which we can monitor on a regular basis.
Cloud computing can offer a more environmentally friendly way of fulfilling your IT requirements, by helping reduce your energy consumption. It can also help you reduce equipment wastage, since any reduction to your hardware needs will limit future redundancy.
Disadvantages of Cloud Computing
Cloud computing makes your small business dependent on the reliability of your Internet connection. When it's off-line, you're off-line. And even the most reliable Internet service providers suffer server outages now and again.
How safe is your data? Cloud computing means Internet computing. So you should not be using cloud computing applications that involve using or storing data that you are not comfortable having on the Internet. That being said, we work with established, reliable cloud computing partners who have the latest, most sophisticated data security systems possible as they want your business and realize that data security is a big concern.
At first glance, a cloud computing application may appear to be a lot cheaper than a particular software solution installed and run in-house, but you need to be sure that the cloud application has all the features the software does.
How can we help?
We can ensure your business is ready to be able to work effectively in The Cloud. Our team has a wealth of knowledge on cloud computing and we offer a range of services under this heading, all of which work in various ways to reduce the cost, and carbon footprint, of your IT infrastructure and to help you buy solutions, rather than technology.
We can provide advice on what Cloud solutions suit your business and ensure it is set up correctly for a stress free transition to The Cloud.