Good news for all you small businesses out there trying to keep up with this increasingly competitive market. If I told you there was a way to substantially cut the cost of doing business while sacrificing virtually nothing would you believe me? Maybe not, (how can you trust someone you don’t know) but if you haven’t left this page yet, then you must want to hear an explanation.
The answer is in the clouds.
Up until these past couple of years, businesses primarily streamed, operated, stored and shared their data using servers and standard business software applications. While software like SAP and Windows Vista proved to be an effective way to work with data, the fact is it puts a damper on your company budget. That damper comes from the cost to run and maintain your database.
We've all made that painful phone call to tech support. You know, the one where something should be on your computer screen, but for some reason it’s not and you have no idea why? So, as panic starts to build, you call technical support and if you’re lucky, they will fix the problem because you just realized that you can’t get any work done until they do. This whole process costs money. You pay for things like tech support, software, updates, printers, ink and paper, and electricity so that your business can continue running smoothly. Well, alas, there is another way, a cheaper way.
You can cut these costs and give your start-up a better chance of survival by eliminating your hard drives and servers all together and switching to cloud computing.
What is cloud computing?
It’s quite simple really. Cloud computing is a way to stream, share, process, and save data without the physical servers and operating systems. Instead of running your operating systems internally, cloud allows you to operate through a shared data center via the Internet. No strings attached.
Shall we talk about some other benefits of going cloud?
Every computer-based program, at some point, will interrupt your busy workday with a friendly reminder to update your software. This normally wouldn’t be a problem. Updates, upgrades and new versions of business software are a good thing, but the problem lies in time management.
Every time you update your business software, you are taking valuable minutes/hours away from more important things like generating leads or working on proposals. With the cloud, you have someone else doing all this for you. No updates, no new versions, all you have to do is log in, customize and you’re there.
Think of it like any other consumer web-based application. Let’s take Facebook for example. When we use Facebook, do we ever worry about physically updating to a new version? How about if your server has enough bandwidth? Not a chance. The good people at Facebook take care of all of this so we can continue posting videos of our cats chasing laser pointers without any technical concerns. Nice kitty.
Using the cloud is the same concept. It simply allows you to dedicate more of your time to actual business rather than what runs a business. This is why it's great for big businesses trying to juggle big data, keeping it all in cloud programs in an organized, collaborative fashion. These already established businesses are going to want the security and reliability of going cloud, as well as the office space getting rid of servers, printers, copiers and other things that can clog up aisles.
Small businesses, start-ups or individuals will love going cloud, too, as they are looking to grow, without hiring an administrative staff to process things like payroll and billing. Businesses that are starting out in the world are going to want to dedicate as much time as they can on sales and growth so that they can stay competitive. They are not going to want to worry about overhead costs and network configurations that can ultimately slow your progress down.
Clouds not only save you time, but money, too!
Going cloud is going green! No one likes spending money on the electric bill and the more energy you use may upset the earth and its environmentalists who live on it. The cloud is a good way to bring attention to both of these matters. (Plus going paperless in the end means more pandas in the world!)
If you are not using cloud computing to run your business software and applications then you are most likely using an in-house operating system comprised of servers and a team of technical support. I’m talking about that closet room full of hard drives, outlet strips and cooling appliances. Using the cloud eliminates the need for this closet room and the hardware that’s in it, thus ending the need for the electricity used to run it.
You see where this is going? Companies can spend a fortune on their electric bills. With the cloud, you can save that money you would usually spend on running your operating system and put it to use in other areas that will help your business grow like marketing plans or that Nespresso machine or ping pong table for the break room.
But is cloud computing safe?
A new concept like the cloud will undoubtedly have some skepticism so it is in your best interest to do a little research. One disadvantage to making the switch seems to come from issue of privacy and safety. Having an in-house server eliminates most of the risk of your data being hacked or compromised by outsiders (unless its an inside job or a break-in.) A business debating a switch to the cloud might think that safety and security will be an issue because you are using a system that shares data publicly through the Internet. This concern is a valid one since there are people hacking into data every day. Heck, even the Pentagon has had security breaches in the past so being safe is never a sure thing.
However, as the Memset infographic that examines cloud safety discovers, like any sort of document, anywhere, the safety issue is more man-made, less computer-made. Sadly, the bigger security risk is found within your own colleagues, which means that risk would exist with or without the cloud. With QWERTY being the world's most popular password and 58 percent of employees having week passwords, it's really important to educate your staff on using complicated, more secure passwords. It makes your entire cloud experience safer, while also following good business sense in general.
Going cloud increases your odds
Any business large or small has tougher odds of making it in today’s economy. If you are looking to flip those odds, it’s time to start looking for ways to better them. The future is in the clouds. You can stay competitive and increase your efficiency and win rates by switching to cloud today.