It is a common misconception that only large enterprises can make technology work for them. In fact, for smaller companies, tech like cloud computing is not only accessible but advantageous. Still, you may find yourself wondering: what is cloud computing, anyway? And how is it beneficial for small businesses, specifically?
To begin with, we’ll look at what cloud computing is. Afterward, we’ll explain how it is important to small businesses.
What is Cloud Computing?
With cloud computing, people, organizations, and businesses can receive on-demand services over the internet. For example, those services could include servers, storage, networking, applications, and software. Simply put, people access the computing they need, using the internet to do so.
Of course, when exploring what cloud computing is, people need to know that these services are on-demand. Where people once had to buy, own, and maintain their servers and software, now they can pay for what they use only.
Another critical point: the cloud service provider in fact stores the information that lives on the cloud. And it does so at one or many locations. While some companies allow users to choose the location of their cloud servers, many do not. Consequently, it’s important for users to select a cloud service provider with strong data security practices.
Cloud computing can serve many purposes within a small business. Some of the most common functionalities include storage, backup, software as a service, and cloud hosting.
The Benefits of Cloud Computing for Small Businesses
Now that you know what cloud computing is, it’s time to explore further what it means for small businesses. Certainly cloud computing is a tool that many larger companies and organizations have used in the past. With much of what we do on the cloud already, it’s undeniably easy and advantageous for even the smallest companies to consider the cloud.
Since cloud computing is increasingly secure and affordable, many small businesses have come to see these benefits, including:
Speaking of security, cloud computing offers every company top-notch IT security and data privacy. Previously, small businesses were at a disadvantage compared to larger enterprises with the money to spend on stringent protections. Because cloud computing providers are responsible for security, small businesses now have access to those same protections, without any extra work.
Since the service provider handles much of cloud computing, there is no need to pay staff for managing the burden of IT. For a smaller monthly fee than what it costs to staff the IT department, small businesses get every service they need, without the maintenance. The fees of cloud computing are predictable and affordable, with a basis in what small businesses actually use.
Portability and Consistency
With cloud technology, small businesses employees can work from anywhere and any time. So long as there is an internet connection and a device, the cloud is there. Consequently, companies can save on overhead and promote flexibility, both key aspects of productivity and cost savings.
Whether employees are working from home or working from the office, the data and programs remain the same. In a small business, many people may work on a document or project. Instead of worrying about who has access to what file or how to transfer a document to a colleague, the cloud offers simplicity and consistency.
Because cloud-hosted files are all coming from one location, data is synced between every device with access to the file. If one person makes a change to a file or works on a project, everyone else gets the updated version.
Data Backup and Recovery
Many small businesses do not have plans in place for disaster recovery and business continuity. Some may not even have adequate data backup plans! For many small companies, proper data governance takes up time, money, and resources that are hard to spare. Luckily, with cloud computing in place, data backup and recovery is simple.
Much like cloud computing allows for remote work, that same function ensures that data is available no matter what happens on-site. If there is a natural disaster, employee error, a virus, or any other concern, the data still exists on the cloud. Subsequently, it’s easy for employees to get access to that information and ensure work continues.
Of course, many small businesses have a goal to grow into something larger! With that said, cloud computing is the perfect solution for expanding companies and those who see spikes in traffic at certain times. Because cloud computing is available on-demand and is paid for as needed, it is easy to purchase more power and storage as required.