Somewhere in the world, right now there is an operations manager trying to do a physical inventory of company assets and accounts with a system such as Quickbooks installed by the internal IT department. Suddenly his or her 8-year old computer will freeze because of a hard drive failure and the operations manager will star freaking out because not only did he or her lost of all the work of the last 2 hours but also because he or she has not run a backup in the last 2 months. This is a common story among circles of all types of industries. In this article we will discuss 3 benefits of cloud for small businesses.
Benefit 1: Greater Computing Strength
The main objective of cloud computing is to allow companies to store some or all of their data and programs in a remote server that has greater computing strength and that runs continuous backups. This makes the unfortunate crash like the one the operations manager experienced, less likely. Small businesses can access this computing power as needed and are not limited to maintain minimum levels of service. Just like your company has a competitive advantage that allows you to stand out from the crowd, a cloud computing company has one: multiple super cooled high-power servers in secure locations. By focusing on your competitive advantage and purchasing access to the competitive advantage from a cloud service provider, you will be able to get the best from both worlds.
Benefit 2: Smaller IT Costs
As the North American economy continues to struggle; small business owners are more and more concerned about costs. As commercial rent continues to increase, efficient use of available square footage is a critical issue. By taking servers out of your office, not only can you reclaim office space but also you empower some personnel to work on-the-go. The virtualization of your data provides important cost savings in servers, IT staff and training, costs to cool servers and redundant server peripherals. Forget about the days that you had to order shrink-wrapped, boxed software or figure out how to upgrade to the latest software version.
Given the rise in cloud computing, companies are offering attractive prices to potential clients. As you are analyzing alternatives, keep in mind whether your business would benefit best from a full virtual solution or a full on-site hosted solution. Companies in this industry are flexible enough to provide you a hybrid between these 2 extremes. An example is contract management software provider Contract Logix, who offers several deployment options including Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), on-premise Internet-based, on-premise server-based, and other types of hosted options.
Choose the option that makes the most business sense for your company.
Benefit 3: Flexibility
The structure of cloud computing allows your business to be more flexible: try out new software without committing to expensive hardware. Many businesses have not implemented optimal solutions because they are stuck with a massive IT expenditure from a year ago. Unlike in-house server solutions, cloud-based server solutions are often on a pay-as-you-go basis, which means that you can swiftly take advantage of new technologies.
Another benefit in terms of flexibility, is that your employees could access (depending on your desired accessibility settings) data from anywhere as long as they have an Internet connection. Coming back to the Contract Logix example, traveling sales staff can access your contract management system for a repository of contract templates, all currently approved by your legal department. They would be able to work on them and your legal department would be able to track their work, in order to ensure that the clauses that they modify fall within an established range and that they include approved contract language. This is just one of the many benefits of a cloud-based solution.
The 3 main benefits of cloud computing for small businesses are: 1) on-demand accessibility to greater computing strength, 2) smaller IT costs when compared to a full internal solution, and 3) greater flexibility for trying out new IT solutions and for improving staff efficiency.
Guest post by Damian Davila, a blogger on technology and Internet news. You can follow Contract Logix on Twitter at @ContractLogix.