The recent advancements in cloud computing have been a major technological boon to the world of business. The value of the cloud can be distilled into three “Cs”: collaboration, communication, and cost. Cloud services have opened up new opportunities for remote collaboration and global communication among workers—capabilities that can ultimately bring down the cost of doing business for everyone.
“The cloud” isn’t some kind of far-off future tech, nor is it particularly complicated or difficult to understand. We all use cloud computing on a daily basis. When you update your Facebook, use an app to check your bank account balance, or access a spreadsheet in Google Drive, you’re using cloud computing.
For businesses, the rise of cloud computing has reduced overhead costs considerably. Instead of a mass of high-maintenance onsite servers, information can be stored remotely using cloud services. In the past, workers needed to be centralized in a single office location; now, people can now do productive work remotely from anywhere in the world. A business today could conceivably be entirely cloud-based, with remote workers collaborating together from all over the world. Not only does cloud computing offer greater flexibility, it can also drastically reduce a company’s expenses.
Improved Collaboration: A Seamless Solution for Small Businesses
Small businesses have benefitted immensely from the increased availability of cloud services. The potential for seamless remote collaboration has made it easier and less costly for entrepreneurs to start their own company, hire contract employees, and get work done from anywhere in the world. Instead of leasing an office space, everyone involved can conceivably work from anywhere. Remote contract workers, in the comfort of their home or a coffee shop, can do their jobs entirely through cloud-based tools and software. Rather than using Word or Excel documents stored locally on an office computer, services like Dropbox and Google Drive let them access their files from anywhere. With communication tools like Skype and Google Hangouts, along with cloud-based project management tools like Slack or Trello, it’s easier than ever for teams to collaborate without ever being in the same room.
In many ways, this approach is actually more efficient than the traditional ways of doing things. Instead of sending file attachments in bulky, confusing email chains, anyone who needs a document can simply access it online. Instead of taking everyone away from work to meet together in a conference room, then waiting on everyone to arrive, and worrying about providing food and coffee for everyone, a simple video call can begin immediately. No one has to commute to or from an office, which means workers can “stay late” without worrying about the building closing up for the night and no one is late for work in the morning because of a train or a traffic jam.
This innovative remote approach to work is quickly becoming the norm. According to a recent study conducted by Microsoft, over 66% of employees work outside of a traditional office. This trend is projected to continue into the future, and someday cubicle farms might very well be a thing of the past. Even living in different time zones is a challenge that can be surmounted easily with cloud-based collaboration strategies.
Fast, Reliable Cloud Communication
Many cloud-based services offer communication tools like video broadcasting and remote conference calls. This makes it possible for clients and colleagues to connect instantly from anywhere in the world. Miscommunication is one of the biggest causes of workplace inefficiency; as email chains and visits to someone else’s cubicle give way to instant messaging and video calls, it’s easier than ever to ensure clear communication between team members.
Along with employee communication, cloud tools can also improve communication with clients and vendors. Poor communication, like a missed phone call or an email buried in a spam folder, could destroy a potentially lucrative business relationship. As cloud communication solutions get more sophisticated, this problem is becoming increasingly rare.
Scalability: How the Cloud Gives Businesses Room to Grow
Another major benefit of cloud-based collaboration and communication tools is the advantage of scalability. The goal of many small businesses is to eventually grow over time, but this growth can bring challenges. The cost of things like more office space for employees and more servers can make expansion a challenge. But with cloud-based solutions it’s easier than ever for companies to expand the services they use exactly when they need to do so. Most cloud services make it easy to upgrade to a bigger package, providing a cost effective way to accommodate growth.
For example, an e-commerce site could start experiencing more traffic than the servers can handle. Instead of worrying about adding or improving onsite server infrastructure—not to mention hiring IT professionals to manage it—the company can simply upgrade their cloud hosting service. If the company grows to a point where they need to hire more employees, they don’t have to worry about leasing a bigger office space, because with cloud services, the whole team can collaborate remotely from anywhere.
Cloud Solutions Bring Cost Savings
Cloud-based services make running a small business more affordable and accessible than ever, opening the door to entrepreneurship for more people than ever before. Instead of hiring a local software developer, a San Francisco company can hire someone in Tennessee, where the cost of living and salary expectations are lower. Instead of paying for onsite servers and IT staff to upgrade and maintain them, a company can utilize cloud-based solutions at half the price. When more space is needed, the company can simply upgrade their service package from their provider.
Preventing Costly Data Loss
A server failure, or even an accidental document deletion, can be a catastrophe for a company. Losing mission critical data or documents could be a death sentence for a small business. Cloud-based storage solutions are a way to prevent this contingency from ever occurring. Instead of storing information locally, data can be stored remotely through a cloud service and accessed from anywhere. Since the cloud service company is responsible for things like server hardware updates and backing up data, their customers are free to focus on their business instead.
A server failure, or even a BSOD on a desktop with important files stored locally, can bring employee productivity to a standstill. When everyone is scrambling in the wake of a technological disaster, no one can get work done—especially if they can’t access the files and systems they need. That means lost production, lost sales, and lost profits. Cloud-based storage and server solutions handle backups for you. In fact, the backups are often geo-redundant, meaning they’re stored in multiple physical locations for better security.
Cloud Solutions Are Reliable
Cloud service companies have the IT staff, resources, and expertise to provide exactly what you need; all you need to do is pay a monthly or annual fee. This frees you, your employees, and your clients from worrying about losing important documents or sensitive customer data. One of the major draws of cloud services is their reliability, along with their cost effectiveness.
Focus on Your Business, Not Your Servers
Outsourcing your server management means you don’t have to worry about maintenance, hardware updates, and other IT concerns. Instead of handling it yourself, or paying considerable salaries for experienced IT staff, a cloud service takes care of server equipment for you. It’s one less thing to worry about—and for business owners, that’s important. It leaves you and your staff free to focus on your core competencies. If you’re always worrying about data backups and server failures, your mind isn’t focused on running your business as efficiently as possible. With cloud options, you and your employees only need to focus on day-to-day job tasks.
Stop Losing Time to Software Updates
Software updates are crucial for patching bugs, improving security, and keeping your software systems working smoothly. At the same time, they can be a serious inconvenience. We’ve all been in the middle of an important task or presentation when suddenly Windows 10 decides it just has to force an update right this second. Server software updates can present similar problems. When you work with a cloud service provider, you don’t have to worry about making sure your software or hardware is up to date or scheduling updates; their experienced, highly trained staff will handle that for you.
The Many Advantages of Cloud-Based Business Solutions
Cloud computing has introduced a number of valuable business tools that can improve team collaboration, streamline communication with employees and clients, and reduce the overhead costs associated with running a business. Cloud storage and cloud-based server management remove the burden of software and hardware maintenance, leaving businesses free to focus on their core competencies instead. With so many cloud software services available for team collaboration, video and text communication, and project management, it’s possible for groups of people to work together effectively without ever being in the same room.
As cloud services have become more affordable, more widely available, and more widely used, entrepreneurship and small business ownership have become more accessible and attainable. By reducing overhead costs for office space and onsite servers, and allowing global teams to work remotely with instant communication, cloud computing has brought incredible changes to the world of business.
PulaTech business services can help your company figure out how to effectively migrate your operations and data to cloud applications, enabling your employees to work remotely and your company to enyoy all the other advantages of cloud-based business solutions. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help your business become more efficient and effective.