The cloud has become an increasingly used buzzword over the last few years. At its most basic, the cloud offers anytime, anywhere service to your IT resources. That can be a huge convenience for companies with remote workforces that need to access data outside of the office. It also can add an extra layer of comfort as corporate data can be protected and secured. Since its emergence, cloud technology has matured to become a must-have IT option for small business owners.
Here are 5 reasons why you should consider either starting your business or taking your business it to the cloud.
1. Money Talks
Cash flow is important to any business. If you are starting a business, it may be even more important. When you subscribe to a cloud IT service you pay on a month-to-month basis rather than having to pay one large upfront cost.
2. Reduce related costs such as hardware, software and maintenance
Cloud services do not require an upfront investment into hardware. For example, when you subscribe to a cloud-based Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solution, you don’t need to worry about purchasing a server for hosting. Additionally, there isn’t an upfront cost for user licenses, which can be quite pricey depending on what type of software you are purchasing. Maintenance costs such as upgrades to new versions, support and bug fixes are also worked into your monthly cost. This is normally an additional 10 – 20% fee when you purchase software.
3. Free Up IT Resources
Cloud solutions allow for your IT solution to be looked after by IT professionals. Many small businesses don’t even have the luxury of having an in-house dedicated IT resource, which can be a challenge when things go wrong. IT is left in the hands of the user or delegated to the youngest person in the office in many cases by default. After all, a lot of millennials don’t even remember the world before Google!
If you do have a dedicated IT resource, I suspect they already have their hands full ensuring your current network is up and running at an optimal level. They are also likely too busy maintaining the status quo to add additional software or they may not have the expertise for new solutions. The cloud removes all of these additional IT burdens on your staff and let’s an expert cloud solutions professional handle everything.
4. Business Resumption
You never think it’s going happen to you, but your organization can be hit by a disaster. When that happens, you need to ensure that your business and especially your customers are unaffected. The cloud offers this security. Not only does your data reside off-site, but your provider will ensure backups are made on a regular basis. Piece of mind is a big bonus.
I recently worked at a software company where a fire destroyed its server room. For that organization, the server room was the heart and soul of the business. The IT manager was leveraging a strategy that was a mix of cloud and on-prem — and they were lucky for that. After all was said and done, only 4 hours of work was lost due to the fire. Many of the files and software were in the cloud so all we had to do was log on from home and resume business as usual, despite the physical office being a disaster zone.
5. Do Business Anywhere
The story above is a great lead in to this benefit. At that company we ending up working from home for a month. Imagine how the situation would be different if the files and software weren’t in the cloud.
The cloud enables you to easily and seamlessly work anywhere. It enables your employees to access your information anywhere — not just at home and in the office, but at a client’s office, while you are traveling or while you are at the cabin.
A great added bonus of moving to the cloud is leveraging the latest technologies. Upgrades are covered in the monthly cost of your cloud service. Oftentimes and regardless of size, businesses have a ‘set it and forget it’ attitude with software. And when the latest version of that software comes out, there is usually additional investment required to upgrade. Benefits of these costs aren’t calculated at the start, and when they are finally assessed the costs are deemed not worth the investment. With that type of thinking and with technology improving as fast as it is, this attitude can be a disservice to an organization. By offering constant upgrades, you know that you are able to leverage the best your solution has to offer.
Has your company already moved to a cloud solution? What other benefits have you found up in the clouds? Tell us in the comments below.
Main image credit AJ Batac on Flickr.