Are you taking advantage of the cloud in your organization? Cloud computing can help level the playing field between small businesses and large corporations by giving smaller firms access to software and services that may be too expensive to license outright.
Currently, only 30 percent of small businesses are using paid cloud services, and another 14 percent are using it for email only. These numbers are expected to rise in the next 2-3 years, however, as 48 percent of SMEs have plans to start using the cloud, at least in some capacity, during that timeframe.
The physical and operational benefits of the cloud are numerous. Here are a few:
- Reduced IT expenses – The cloud reduces or eliminates many of the physical and operational costs of IT. You won’t need to buy as many servers or software licenses or spend time managing them.
- Scalability – Add or subtract services on the fly—many cloud applications are pay-as-you-go, meaning that you are only billed for what you actually need. This allows small businesses to take advantage of technologies like customer relationship management software, office and design applications, and secure data storage.
- Remote access – Employees can work from anywhere and have access to the same data and programs.
- Ease of implementation – Many cloud applications are easy to set up and use.
- Efficiency – Your IT team can spend more time on mission critical tasks and innovation.
Many small business cloud adopters are already seeing these benefits work for them. When asked, 87 percent of small businesses using the cloud responded that it had given them a competitive edge. A further 85 percent gained capabilities that they were not previously able to afford, and 81 percent said that the cloud has enabled them to get to market with their products and solutions faster.
While the benefits of the cloud can be huge, you’ll want to do some thorough analysis before jumping in with your whole organization. Try testing cloud computing on a limited basis—moving one application at a time, for example—to see if it works for you. You’ll also want to ask your chosen cloud provider about security—what type of authentication process do they have? Do they encrypt your data when it’s stored?
When properly implemented, cloud computing can help your organization get to the next level. What’s your experience with the cloud? Have you seen any of the advantages in your business? Share in the comments below.
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