Many small-business owners have integrated cloud-based storage into the normal course of their affairs, with services such as Dropbox, Apple iCloud, Amazon Cloud, and Google Drive backing up everything from the data on your mobile phone to your work files. Use of these services to store information and files provides peace of mind in case your original files are lost and offers centralized access to authorized employees from any location and on multiple devices. While cloud-based storage is a staple of most tech-savvy businesses, it may be time to upgrade to cloud-based computing, where you transition to applications that are not localized on your company’s hardware. Here are five good reasons to take the next step.
1. Lower Upfront Costs
Some software is quite expensive to purchase outright. Whether you need a video-editing suite for creative production, a point-of-sale system to track inventory, or an accounting program to record income and expenses, the upfront cost of the software plus licences for employee access can run into the thousands of dollars. When you’re on a tight budget, the option to pay a smaller fee spread out over time for cloud-based access to the program can make the difference between the financial success or failure of your business. Cloud-based computing gives small businesses the same access to high-end software that big companies use to maintain their edge at a fraction of the upfront cost, leveling the playing field.
2. No-Hassle Maintenance
Not every small business can afford in-house tech support. Cloud-based computing takes the hassle out of maintaining the software your company needs to operate. Forget about paying someone to install the software, upgrade it on every device at regular intervals, and ensure compatibility with your operating system. Most cloud-based applications run through a simple web browser, and the company offering the software keeps it updated on its end. This way, you no longer have to worry about running an old version of the software because you can’t afford to update it. With cloud-based computing you always have access to a program’s latest features.
3. Lower Hardware Requirements
Cloud-based computing makes it easier for your business to cut back on hardware expenses. You no longer need to run your own server for your entire staff to have access to a key program. Better yet, you don’t have to invest in computer systems with high enough specifications just to run a particular software suite. Basically, the efficacy of your cloud computing most often depends on the reliability and speed of your internet connection rather than your local hardware.
4. Access Anywhere
A major benefit to cloud computing is easy accessibility. Most cloud-based programs are accessible from any device connected to the internet, either through a web browser or a dedicated app. Your employees can get work done on their desktop in the office, their laptop while traveling, or their phone or tablet during their commutes. The cost for access is typically tied into the periodic service fee, so you can save money on physical program copies and licenses.
5. Software Consolidation
Some cloud-computing providers offer a suite of integrated programs that address multiple needs, making it easier for you to consolidate the number of different programs you use into a single related cluster that shares resources and information. For example, Google Apps for Business provides email, file management, document and form creation, calendars and scheduling, and website building all under one umbrella. Microsoft’s Office 365 and Adobe Creative Cloud are other examples of integrated suites of software that provide cloud storage and computing. Whether you want to save money in your tech budget by spreading out the cost of the software you need to compete or simply want to concentrate on running your business instead of installing and upgrading software, cloud-computing offers many benefits suited to entrepreneurial success.