For small businesses, the cloud represents an ideal combination of increased productivity, streamlined HR, automated accounting, hassle-free security and customizable scalability.
With about 80 percent of all businesses predicted to be using the cloud by 2020, according to Forbes, it’s high time to see what all the talk is about. Here are a few reasons your small business should migrate to the cloud:
It Increases Productivity
One of the biggest appeals of the cloud for mobile business users is the ability to be productive from anywhere. Through the cloud, you and your team have access to your business software tools from anyplace at anytime.
Popular business cloud platforms like Microsoft Office 365 or Google Apps for Work combine a full suite of collaboration tools into a package tailored for mobile employees. Since many small businesses have been using Microsoft and Google programs for years, their cloud interfaces are familiar and make for an easy transition.
Though you need an internet connection to work on the cloud, many platforms have offline modes. This means you can do the work offline and any changes you make will sync up once you connect to the internet again.
It Streamlines Human Resources
Cloud-based human resources tools allow HR departments to be more efficient. Traditionally, HR departments have had to rely on manual data entry and review, which drains resources, including money, from a small business.
Cloud HR software minimizes paperwork by streamlining processes like onboarding new employees, tracking timesheets, scheduling sick leave and PTO and calculating payroll taxes.
Established players such as SAP and Oracle have developed comprehensive systems, while startups like SilkRoad and Cornerstone offer niche solutions for functions like talent management.
It Automates Accounting
Some of the best small businesses stumble when it comes to bookkeeping and cash flow management, revealing an Achilles’ heel they can’t afford to expose. Fortunately, there are some excellent cloud-based solutions that keep accounting manageable.
Intuit QuickBooks Online, for example, automates accounting functions like invoicing and accounts payable and receivable. Data from sales transactions, business expenses and inventory can all be automatically uploaded to the cloud. Automated accounting saves time and means no more manual data entry, which minimizes costly clerical errors.
The ability to manage your company finances from anywhere enhances your own remote work capability, as well as allows your company to accept mobile payments.
It Provides Hassle-Free Security
At one time, many small businesses were hesitant to migrate to the cloud because they were worried about security, but today cloud providers are outfitted with security far more sophisticated than any offered by an on-site IT department.
Amazon, Microsoft, Google and Salesforce all offer security solutions that include firewalls, data encryption, multi-factor authentication and virus detection, all designed to keep your data secure. These companies deal with cloud security full time and are prepared to combat any online security issues that might arise.
The best way to fully alleviate your cloud worries is to educate yourself and your team. Ask questions and do your homework. Once you understand the extent of physical security, backup and recovery, and risk mitigation these companies are prepared for, you’ll feel confident about your decision to migrate to the cloud.
You Can Customize Scalability
Embracing the cloud means the freedom to scale your small business up or down quickly.
If you are anticipating large sales or a sudden spike in users, your cloud provider can offer you more servers and bigger bandwidth to handle the spike, for however long you need the increased capacity. During quieter times, you can revert to using less. Either way, the cloud gives you the flexibility to scale — and paying only for what you use cuts expenses. This model lets you customize what you need when you need it.
If you’re ready to embrace the wave of cloud computing, start by assessing your small business, finding areas where your workflow is cluttered and inefficient and then choose a cloud partner that can give you a boost.