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Cloud Computing: Is it Worth it for Your Small Business?

As a small business owner, you're constantly on the lookout for ways to thoughtfully cut corners and save money while still remaining both viable and professional. You may have heard the term “cloud computing” thrown around, but aren't quite sure what it is or how this technology can benefit your small business. Basically, cloud computing allows users to access various programs, from word processing to invoicing to databases and even calendars, from any device. You may be intrigued by this prospect, but immediately assume you cannot possibly use this technology or that it isn't safe. Here are a few of the advantages to cloud computing and a few examples of how this fascinating technology can help ensure your ultimate success.

The Advantages of Cloud Computing

Reliability – The overall reliability of cloud computing is cause for concern, but don't let this fact dissuade you from implementing this technology. In general, the majority of small business owners simply cannot afford the level of security and reliability necessary to ensure their privileged information remains secure. Cloud computing offers you that reliability and for much less than you might imagine.

An Issue of Security – As a small fish in a seemingly large pond, you might think that cybercriminals simply aren't interested in infiltrating your network. This fallacy becomes glaringly obvious when you accidentally download malware and your entire system becomes compromised. Cloud security is a more cost-effective method to provide you with (a little) peace of mind.

The Question of Money – As a small start-up, you're probably wondering how cloud computing will help you save money. In actuality public clouds – which are offered by cloud services companies for a nominal fee – can save small business owners a substantial amount of money over the long run in comparison to downloading and constantly updating necessary software.

The Collaborative Spirit – As your business expands, or you service clients from across the country or globe, cloud computing allows you to share data and ideas with greater ease. Imagine utilizing the same technologies as large, multi-billion dollar corporations? Cloud computing allows you to get the word out on your business faster than ever before.

Speed – Your cloud applications are generally ready to use within minutes after set-up, which incidentally requires little to no intervention on your end. This allows you to immerse yourself immediately, and maximize those potential profits.

How to Use Cloud Computing for My Small Business

The benefits of cloud computing are piquing your interest, but where do you begin? Here are a few simple and helpful tips to move into the cloud without becoming lightheaded:

  • Stick to Your Budget – No matter if you're expanding or downsizing, it's crucial to determine realistic spending parameters, and remain comfortably within them.
  • Learn Specifically What the Cloud Can Do For You – Each small business is unique, meaning your needs will vary from the pie shop down the street. If you're interested in file sharing and storage, reducing your software budget or finding a more cost-effective way to email and instant message clients, the cloud can provide each of these services.
  • Take Baby Steps – Unless you're a computer genius or IT guru, the world of cloud computing is probably a foreign one. Instead of jumping in head first and signing up for every service a company offers, start by allowing two to three employees to use a service, such as email. As your company's familiarity with cloud computing evolves, consider all of the other ways this technology can benefit for company.
  • Understand the Cloud Company's Security Policies – You don't need a master’s degree to have a rudimentary understanding of malware, phishing and the myriad of potential threats to your data. Work with the cloud computing team to create a clear, straightforward plan to keep your information safe.

You've ultimately decided that cloud computing is the best solution for your small business; don't be surprised when that first taste of this technology becomes a full-blown obsession. You might even find yourself discovering never-before imagined ways to use cloud computing to improve productivity, share information and back-up your most privileged data. For more information, you can go here to see ten steps to ensure a secure ascension to the cloud.