Few things tie up a small-business owner’s time and money as much as technology does. The computers, software apps, networks, and other devices that your business relies on are often complex, expensive, and time-consuming to procure and maintain.
These challenges are driving more entrepreneurs to adopt cloud-based solutions, which allow you to rely on others to deal with “the back end,” often at a fraction of the cost of doing it yourself. As more service providers offer business-class features, such as encryption and regulatory compliance, cloud solutions are becoming an increasingly attractive and viable option. According to a recent CDW report, the number of small businesses implementing or maintaining cloud solutions doubled from 2011 to 2012.
Here are four reasons why you should consider making the move to the cloud.
1. It’s cost efficient. Perhaps the biggest benefit of using cloud services is the cost savings. Most providers offer pay-per-use plans that can scale according to a business’s needs. Because you don’t have to purchase additional hardware and software, you’ll save on capital expenses. And by moving some of your infrastructure to the cloud, you won’t need to hire IT staff or devote hours of your own time to IT maintenance.
2. You can access your data from anywhere. As more small businesses adopt Bring Your Own Device policies, the ability to access company data across platforms is increasingly critical. Because cloud-based storage and apps live on remote servers and are web-based, you and your employees can access them from anywhere on any device with a browser and an internet connection.
3. Your data is automatically backed up. Most small-business owners understand the importance of backing up essential data, and yet it’s probably still one of the first tasks to fall by the wayside in the day-to-day demands of running a company. Having your data automatically backed up through a cloud provider gives you one less daily worry, and it ensures that your files are protected in the event your business suffers a power outage (or another disaster) that compromises your primary system. Just make sure to thoroughly vet your provider’s redundancy systems and disaster-recovery options before signing up.
4. It makes collaboration easy. Cloud services have made document sharing, real-time editing, and other forms of collaboration a cinch. Because most of the apps are browser-based, you and your employees don’t have to waste time learning different interfaces, waiting for email attachments to download, or translating documents from one format to another.