Cloud computing is fast evolving from a future solution into a viable alternative for many small to medium-sized businesses. For a growing business, one of the most difficult things to do is keep capital expenditures under control. By leveraging virtualization technology with Desktop Virtualization, and economies of scale, Cloud Computing is a way to access enterprise-grade IT that would otherwise be too costly to purchase and maintain.
The following is a brief list of some of the benefits of Cloud Computing. Many other benefits exist that may apply to individual businesses.
1. Cost Savings
With the fragile economy that exists throughout the world, businesses are looking to reduce expenses without losing productivity … Cloud Computing is a step in that direction. With Cloud Computing there are no upfront investments for hardware or software. Because the Cloud platform is utility based, you only pay for what you use. Cloud Computing can save you time and money as well as give you a competitive advantage.
2. Access to your Data – Anytime, Anywhere and with Any Device
Cloud computing allows the users of a network to access their data and applications from any device, anytime and basically anywhere. Because data is accessed over the internet on your Cloud provider’s servers, management and employees have 24/7 access wherever and whenever they need it. Whether a person is at a hotel, business meeting, on vacation or working remotely … The Cloud allows a user to access their vital business info anywhere, anytime and from multiple different devices.
One of the major reasons why companies move their business to The Cloud is because of scalability. Some business processes are seasonal and go through periods of extreme activity, but then this activity slows considerably when the busy season is over. Cloud-based services can expand and contract as a business needs the resources.
There may be times during the year that a company needs to hire employees, or the business might be a growth industry with the company expanding. Either way, with traditional on-premise networks, the business would be required to purchase expensive software and hardware to handle this influx of people, and the business would have to deliberately purchase extra technology up front before they truly needed it. This purchase would tie up valuable capital that the company could use elsewhere! With Cloud Computing a growing (or shrinking) company can scale their services up or down, whenever they need them.
Because Cloud Providers offer their services to a large number of businesses and companies, it is easier and more economical for them to make sure that their system is 100% secure from hackers, accidents, and bugs. They can easily afford all types of defensive measures like filtering, patch management, and cryptography techniques. And keep in mind that it truly is in their best interest to protect your data and maintain you as a long term customer.
For a much more in-depth discussion of Cloud Security please contact us for more information.
5. Leveling the playing field
Cloud computing levels the playing field between large and small companies with a “pay-for-what-you-use” model. Small to medium sized companies no longer need to shell out big bucks in order to buy IT infrastructure that is comparable to large companies. Now they can just rent what they need in the cloud.
Most businesses basically either produce products or sell products. Large companies usually have a big advantage when they can make and sell items cheaper thanks to economies of scale. This is where the cloud makes a difference.
Small to medium sized businesses can use the cloud to access tools and computing power that was once only available to the mega-companies. Cloud Computing helps flatten the cost curve between the largest and smallest companies by helping small businesses afford the same set of tools the big players have.
6. Management Control
Cloud-based applications enable managers to better monitor and manage what’s going on in their company and with their employees. Because managers can access information that their employees are working on, they can manage and evaluate the work much quicker and more efficiently. Also, Cloud based applications make it much easier to extract the right information at the right time. Want to know how a sales person is doing, if he/she closed the big deal, or if your assistant is finishing up a particular document…on the cloud this can be done quickly and easily. Cloud computing allows for greater business visibility and transparency!
7. Greater Functionality, Efficiency and Innovation
With Cloud Computing you don’t have to wait years for the next great upgrade … instead you can make regular and incremental upgrades and improvement to your technology whenever it becomes available. Even smaller companies get access to technologies that were previously only available to Fortune 500 companies … and at a reduced price.
Improved efficiency and response time is also an enormous benefit of Cloud Computing … no longer do small businesses have to wait months or years to improve their technology position. With the Cloud they can begin running new applications within days or even hours, which helps them keep their competitive edge in the marketplace.
Cloud applications are typically much more user friendly, greatly reducing employee training time and improving a company’s bottom-line. As well, The Cloud allows much greater collaboration between employees allowing multiple users to share and work on data and document at the same time.
8. Disaster Recovery and Backup
With your company’s data safely stored on secure data centers instead of your server room (previously known as your storage closet), losing power due to hurricanes, earthquakes or a construction worker cutting the power lines, you are back at work as long as you have an internet connection.
Removing the need to buy and configure new hardware and software allows your employees, and your IT department, to concentrate on the tasks that will directly increase your profits and grow your company.
Cloud Computing allows your business to select only what your company needs, when you need it and use it how you want to. You can select a CRM tool, choose the intranet as your platform, purchase an email marketing tool, a financial services tool or a host of other options for you company. You basically pay for what you use when you need it!
Cloud computing greatly improves transparency in your organization, and transparency improves accountability as well. Instead of having to wait for a salesperson to call or e-mail your managers with results of a sales meeting, or waiting for an update on activity, your management team can view in real time everything that has been happening with every account your company is working on. You can even offer this transparency to your customers if you wish, offering them a window to your world through The Cloud!
As a business owner or manager, you are keenly aware of how important reporting and analytics can be to your company. Having the ability to use computing power to analyze data and information, so you can make real-time decisions, is critical in this tough economic environment.
Cloud-based analytics allows you to track the manufacturing process, follow sales numbers in a particular geographic region, or learn quickly how a marketing campaign performed in a particular city, state or country. But one of the big advantages of these Cloud analytics tools is that you don’t need to have advanced technical skills in statistics to work with this information. Just extract data from your various applications and you can be viewing reports that are easy for you and your employees to understand … and it all happens in real-time!
13. The Future
As companies fight for market share within their industry, and as they search for opportunities that give them a competitive advantage, Cloud Computing is quickly becoming the technology choice for small to medium sized businesses. It has become clear to business owners and managers that Cloud Computing gives them more and affordable choices, greater functionality, larger capacity for growth, higher performance levels and much more mobility for their workforce.