The Benefits of Cloud-Technologies for Small Business

30 January 2014
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30 January 2014, Comments: 0

The Benefits of Cloud-Technologies for Small Business

In today’s business world the need for reliable, yet affordable technology is greater needed more than ever. For some small businesses, “cloud computing” may be the answer that fills that void.  This somewhat new computing medium offers reliable service at a flexible price that’s affordable by almost all types of businesses.

Most people are aware of the term “Cloud Technology” due to the growing manufacturer’s integrating of the systems in mobile devices. Still some confusion remains about what benefits it brings, as well as how secure it is for sharing and storing business information.
Cloud computing may seem like a new technology, but in truth, we’ve all used cloud computing in some way, shape or form for years. Take Facebook, for example; this social sharing site stores your comments, photos, videos and so on right up there in the cloud. Gmail, Picasa, Flickr, and others all rely on the cloud as well. These are all applications we use freely each day.  But cloud computing offers so much more and may transform the way small businesses operate by saving money, enhancing uptime, and increasing productivity. Read More

What is Cloud Computing?
Without going into the technical specifications of how cloud computing works, it’s easier to start with an understanding of what it enables.
Imagine being able to log onto a website and access all the tools and programs that you or your employees need to do their jobs, without having to invest in lots of standalone software licenses? What if you could access all your office productivity tools (email, calendar, word processing, databases, invoicing, CRM, intranet, etc.) from any location or device? What’s more, all the software management and trouble-shooting can be done by the cloud service provider, freeing up your IT resources and at the same time, save you time when disaster strikes. Read More

How Cloud Services Can Help Your Small Business:
For businesses that fully implement this type of solution, the benefits of Cloud Technologies are vast, and the cost savings can be significant. In fact, the CDW Cloud Computing Tracking Poll found that 76 percent of the small businesses implementing or maintaining cloud computing have successfully reduced the cost of applications by moving them to the cloud. This is because the initial capital investment and the ongoing support infrastructure (your IT headcount) needed to install and run hardware and software is done by the cloud service provider. So all you need to do really is just register for the cloud services with a trusted provider, and your cloud service provider will do all the “heavy lifting” for you. To get started you simply pick and choose all the tools you will need to run your business.  Once you are given access and your data is uploaded, the technical reliability becomes the cloud service provider’s responsibility.  So in a sense, you’re getting a free I.T. support team when you sign up for these services.  This can result in significant savings depending on your business model.

Another cost-saving benefit is that you only pay for the “seats” that you need on a per month basis. If only have 3 employees, you only pay for three seats. As you bring on new employees you can easily scale up without having to invest in new licenses. Contrast this with the cost of purchasing a software bundle, such as a CRM program, where you have to try to forecast how many users you might need in the future and buy that number of licenses now. Furthermore, if you tend to use software in spikes, for example a “seasonal” business or  when you run monthly invoices, you pay only for your usage – a far more cost-effective model than paying a premium for a piece of software that sits idle for 75 percent of the time. Read More

As with all business investments, plan development is needed to determine what cloud computing can do for your business. As you think about implementing cloud computing, consider the following:

  • How much do you spend your IT budget? Is there a cloud service that can take the pressure off and help you reduce costs? Assess your expenses, including support and management costs of your most widely used applications, and research the potential savings the cloud can bring.
  • Got storage? One of the most common ways small businesses are saving is through cloud-based data storage and backup. This is a bulky and costly chore for small businesses, but one you can’t afford to do without. Outsourcing data storage can be done for less than $30 per month depending on your storage needs.
  • Use The Full Potential Of E-Mail Systems – Cloud email is another area in which small businesses can realize efficiencies and enhanced features. Tools such as Microsoft Office and Outlook for Business not only can eliminate the hassle and expense of maintaining your own email server or disparate systems, they include great add-on features that let you access mail from any device. You can also synchronize calendars and enjoy email backup, while enhancing security and availability.    
  • Other Office Tools – Another tool the cloud has transformed is invoicing through integrated time sheets, sales data, and automatic billing. Marketing also gets a lot easier thanks to cloud-based platforms that revolutionize how small businesses handle email broadcasts, social media, virtual events and more.
  • Enhanced Security – Because cloud services are delivered over the Internet and hosted on servers that essentially are shared by subscribers of the service, security is a top concern for anyone thinking of using cloud business tools. Some things you can do to alleviate security risks include encrypting data and assessing the security controls your provider has in place.  Read More

Final Thoughts:
As you can see, cloud computing has numerous benefits for business of all sizes. Although, like all technology, cloud computing services have some drawbacks… it can also be seen that the benefits of cloud computing outweigh its negative aspects. Making use of cloud computing correctly and efficiently in a business can not only increase profits for a company by allowing fewer employees to work remotely, but it can also increase the productivity of a company. Employees no longer need to wait for its members to gather to work on a single project, rather they can commute to the cloud via the Internet to work from any location, while still remaining up to date with their project partners. As more and more companies turn to cloud computing to save money and increase business value, the future of cloud computing becomes more certain.

What’s certain however is the popularity and user ability of these services will only continue to increase, especially while companies are continually forced to adjust to decreased budgets, layoffs, and a struggling economy. Cloud computing offers its customers the services it needs to be successful, innovative, and in step with their competition.

The Loan Consultants’ Lifetime I.T. Support:
In addition to all the technologies you receive with The Loan Consultants, Inc., you also get lifetime consulting and support for the technological part of your business. We understand your venture is a dynamic and expansive medium, and we are always here to ensure its running smoothly! Read More

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