Unexpected Benefits of Cloud Computing for Small Businesses

As the coronavirus pandemicengulfs the whole world, country after country has implemented their own lockdown measures to combat the deadly virus. While these lockdowns are necessary to protect citizens, this hasn’t come without a cost though. News headlines flash day and night about the effects of the pandemic on businesses and the wider economy. Many firms have had to completely change their way of working to avoid collapse.

Whilst under lockdown, more and more people are now expected to work from home where possible. This has meant that unprepared firms have had to scramble together IT solutions to allow employees to continue working from their own homes. Businesses that already have a strong cloud and network computing solution in place have experienced very little hiccups and the transition has been far easier compared to those without.

Don’t overlook the cost of business energy in Lockdown

With these current changes, many companies will be looking at the road ahead on what to do once the lockdown has been lifted, and society returns to some level of normality. Managers may rethink how operations will function in the near future and if lessons can be learned from all of this. Those with big office spaces may reconsider whether every square meter is actually needed. As it’s no longer business as usual, measures will have to be taken to cut costs in the new economic climate. Aside from rent, one of the biggest expenses for any company is the cost of gas and electricity. Business energy comparison site, Utility Saving Expert can help firms save thousands of pounds on their commercial energy contracts. It’s quick and easy to get a free no obligation quote within minutes.

Companies that have been able to take advantage of cloud computing will have still been able to maintain some level of productivity. However, many small business owners and managers are probably wondering what cloud computing actually is, we hope to answer that below.

Before you consider cloud computing for your business, here’s three important questions you need to think about:

  • What type of cloud computing service does my business require?
  • How much will it cost?
  • Are the security threats involved manageable?

What is cloud computing?

Simply put, cloud computing grants a user access to data wherever they have a stable internet connection. For many small business owners, it will be mission critical to access the necessary information anytime and anywhere. This could be at home, in the office, or out in the field. Access may be required on a number of different devices such as a Desktop PC, laptop, smartphone or tablet. Cloud computing provides this convenience, meaning you no longer have to be tethered to an office desk.

What is the technology used for?

Cloud computing can be used for various different types of cloud services, some of the most popular options have been highlighted below:

Cloud storage – Backs up and stores your files for regular access. Data can be synced and shared across multiple devices, meaning you no longer have to transfer it manually.

Cloud backup – Similar to cloud storage. However, this is used to create backups in the event an incident takes place such as a system crash or cyber-attack.

Software as a service (SaaS) – The web is used in this instance to provide a service. Some of the most popular services include Microsoft’s Office 365 and Google’s range of applications.

Cloud hosting – This allows sharing of different types of data. Examples include application hosting, email services and web-based telephone services.

What are the benefits of cloud computing?

Small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) can take advantage of cloud computing through a multitude of ways. Some of the key benefits include enhanced collaboration and increased productivity. This ultimately saves firms time and money. Innovative solutions have even transformed some industries completely, resulting in better products and services.

A business can use cloud computing to access data from anywhere in the world, as long as they have a compatible device and a good internet connection. Information is readily available from a centralised location. Data can be synced across all devices that are connected to the same cloud platform, allowing for seamless real-time updates.

How much does it cost?

The cost will vary greatly, this will ultimately depend on the level of service you need. For example, cloud storage through services like Dropbox and Microsoft OneDrive can be relatively inexpensive. Amazon Web Services (AWS) however, offers a whole range of cloud services for businesses of all sizes. Some of the largest companies in the world even use Amazon’s cloud platform.

Other factors include what industry you’re operating in, the number of users you have and the level of customer and technical support required.

Benefits aside, there are a number of drawbacks to consider too. Implementing a new type of technology will require training and ongoing support. Another key concern for many will be the security risks involved. Cyberattacks are increasing year on year, and even the most successful business is not safe from any online threats. Depending on what data you’re responsible for, finding the right provider will be of utmost importance.

Hopefully, this has given you a good introduction to what cloud computing can offer. A number of factors will need to be carefully considered before taking the first steps towards this new digital endeavour.

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