Cloud computing has been front and center of the global shift to remote working. Find out how you can maximize this technology for your small business.
The COVID-19 pandemic rendered many existing business practices obsolete.
Face-to-face brainstorming and collaboration sessions…
Team building activities…
Even the entire concept of an office…
But the global crisis also accelerated the adoption of certain technologies that might be worth holding on to even as the world recovers.
This includes cloud computing.
From remote collaboration to virtual classes, cloud-powered applications are creating some semblance of normalcy through these tough times.
The cloud used to be such an obscure concept. After all, it was difficult to imagine an intangible, centralized location on the internet that stores data and hosts business processes.
But recent years have proven the numerous benefits of ‘moving your business to the cloud.’
The Case for Cloud Computing in Small Businesses
Anyone running a business today is probably already incorporating cloud services into their day-to-day business processes. If you have a website, Gmail address, or using a web-based CRM, you’re using ‘the cloud’. Almost every business today is using some form of cloud computing to manage their business.
But are you taking full advantage of what you can do with the cloud services available? Moving all of your tools to the cloud makes perfect sense for a large business with a seemingly unlimited budget. How can you take advantage of these services as a small business owner?
Is the cost of moving all of your business processes worth it? Is it time for you to do it?
This article will give you seven ways you can use cloud solutions in your small business. After which, you will get a clearer picture of why you should at least consider moving some of your business processes to the cloud.
Seven Ways You Can Use Cloud Computing Solutions
By its very nature, cloud connectivity allows you and your team to collaborate in real-time from anywhere in the world—so long as you all have internet access.
Services like those offered by Microsoft OneDrive, DropBox, and Google Drive, among others, can allow you and your staff greater flexibility to work from anywhere.
With remote collaboration, you don’t have to worry about being too tethered to your office or headquarters.
Ever had a laptop crash on you while you’re working on something important?
Or had a hard drive suddenly become unreadable when you desperately need the files in it?
And when you try to recover the data you need, you are told those are gone forever?
Moving your data to the cloud can help prevent such headaches.
One of the central features of most cloud-based apps is automatic backup and recovery options. So, even if your team experiences a power outage or hardware malfunctions while working on something important, all it takes to recover their hard work is a click or two.
One of the more widespread applications of the cloud is file storage services.
Even if your business is not tech-heavy, you surely have a need for significant file storage capacity. In fact, it’s no longer advisable—if it ever was—to keep your inventory logs, client information databases, and even employee information on physical, on-site archives.
Storing everything on the cloud will also allow you access to all these documents anywhere you are. And if security is your concern, know that as the owner and administrator of your small business’s cloud, you can also have full control over who gets to access these files.
If you want to run a more sustainable business, moving all your files to the cloud can also empower your operations to go fully paperless.
We understand that data security is one of the biggest reasons why small business owners have been cautious about exploring the cloud.
That may have been a valid and pressing concern when the cloud was still in its early stages, but the industry has improved greatly in the last several years.
While you would still need to play your part in securing sensitive data, most cloud service providers have now baked in extra security measures as part of their online applications. Enabling multi-factor authentication, data encryption, and better auditing are all examples of features you should make sure to enable in your cloud services.
Scalable Growth Planning
A common misconception surrounding cloud services is that it requires a considerable upfront investment. But in reality, cloud solutions allow you to scale up as your business grows.
What does this mean?
It means you can always pay for the services and access level you need for now. For example, you can start with paying for the smallest storage capacity and just move some of your files to the cloud. Eventually, you can increase your usage as your business grows.
Since the cloud is also self-managed by the providers, you may be able to eliminate the need for an in-house IT staff to manage your data and tech needs.
As you scale your business, your cloud services can simply scale with it.
Are you still hosting your company’s email client on your own servers?
Or perhaps you haven’t gotten around to creating personalized or individualized email addresses for your staff instead of a Gmail or Yahoo email address for your business?
This is another area where you can maximize cloud services.
By moving your email hosting to a cloud-powered solution such as Office 365 or GSuite, you won’t have to manage or invest in servers to run your business email. The cloud service provider will now be responsible for that.
On top of it all, cloud-hosted email is very affordable and gives your business a professional presence.
While the pandemic may not have rendered brick and mortar stores completely obsolete, it has definitely increased your customers’ reliance on online shopping.
If you are running an online store or are thinking of moving your physical store online, cloud-based e-commerce platforms are definitely the way to go.
Platforms like Shopify have simply been unparalleled, both in ease of use and cost, that doing away with an in-house store management solution is now a no-brainer.
Cloud-based e-commerce platforms are also a breeze to scale without the costly investment in the necessary hardware.
Implementing a Cloud Computing Solution for Your Business
Now that you know how helpful cloud solutions can be for your small business, we’ll leave it to you to decide when it’s the right time to take the leap.
In any case, we’re here if you need more information on cloud solutions or if you require assistance in moving your business operations to the cloud.