Access to all your documents, contacts, calendar and apps from any internet-connected computer, anywhere. It sounds like doing business just got a lot easier, doesn’t it?
Welcome to cloud computing, a steadily-growing way of doing business that moves data away from local servers and onto the internet. In other words, businesses are putting their data on the cloud. According to a survey sponsored by CompTia, more than eight out of 10 companies use some form of cloud solution, and over half of those had plans to increase their cloud investment during the year 2012-2013.
But is cloud computing the right solution for you? And what are the costs involved?
Why the Cloud?
Cloud computing offers many advantages:
- Convenience – all the information your employees need is available anywhere, any time. Whether they are on the road or working from home, the cloud is just a few clicks away;
- Flexibility – cloud servers are flexible when it comes to the amount of storage available;
- Communication – employees can collaborate and network with colleagues or clients all over the world;
- Security – cloud services offer more robust backups than remote servers and there is less risk of information loss in the event of a computer crash.
Big Infrastructure for Businesses Of All Sizes
The flexibility and security of cloud computing makes it an attractive prospect for any business. No more leaving an important file on a USB stick at the office.
Unlike physical servers, the cloud is less likely to corrupt, lose, or otherwise deprive you of your documents.
The ability to network globally and share and transmit information anywhere at any time was once associated with bigger companies. With the advent of cloud computing, these tools are available to businesses of all sizes.
The benefits of the cloud are obvious – but what are the costs?
How Much Does The Cloud Cost?
One question your business will need answered is how much does the cloud cost?
Your business can choose to employ a specific cloud consultant to help you get started, or subscribe to many of the available cloud services.
In general, whichever option you choose, cloud computing services come with a regular fee.
For example, Basecamp project management costs anywhere from $24 to $149 a month, depending on which package you opt for. Google Apps, business class version of Google Docs costs $50 per user, per year. Quickbooks will allow your payroll staff to communicate and work remotely for around $35 a month.
According to Forbes.com, cloud computing can run to a cost of around $12,000 per year overall for a small business.
Is The Cloud Worth It?
If you’re considering putting your business on the cloud, it’s worth taking some time to research your options and how much they will cost you to implement.
When weighing up the cost of cloud computing, take into account not only what you pay for your physical servers and IT repair costs, but the money that could be saved in travel costs and increased productivity.
A survey by Frost and Sullivan found that companies who used the cloud for collaborative purposes saw a return on their investment as high as 400%.
It certainly seems that with careful planning, the cloud can pay for itself many times over.
With so many businesses moving to the cloud, now is the time to start looking upwards and seeing what the cloud can do for you.
About the Author: Tristan Anwyn is an author who writes on subjects as diverse as health, positive thinking, and business reputation.
License: Creative Commons image source