While not every business function can operate in the cloud, there are clear benefits from cloud migration - particularly for small businesses. [shutterstock: 370754954, Rawpixel.com]
The cloud has the potential to move your small business to a whole new level, and while not every business function can operate in the cloud, cloud technology continues to improve and expand the possibilities even for small business owners. Many small business owners believe the cloud to be the domain of large companies, but no matter what size your business, you can find benefits in the cloud.
If you’re a small business owner, it’s time to embrace the cloud and seriously consider it the next technology move for your company. For those of you that need a little help making your final decision, these five reasons your small business should migrate to the cloud could help you make your move into the world of cloud computing.
1. Improved Scalability
Of of the biggest challenges many small businesses face is infrastructure scalability. Businesses grow and shrink on a regular basis, and when you are a small business owner, trying to maintain a cost effective data infrastructure can be especially challenging. In times of fast growth, you may not have the resources to quickly grow the size of your data network, and if you must make cutbacks, you could be left with IT resources that are being wasted.
With the cloud, this problem simply vanishes. Often with one phone call and in as little as a few minutes, you can grow and shrink your IT infrastructure needs. If you experience sudden and quick growth, you can easily add more space, applications and users in just a few minutes. If you need to scale things back, with a simple call you can reduce your resources and your costs.
2. Greater Workforce Flexibility
We live in a mobile world, with employees that are using a wide range of devices in many different locations. The traditional office is going away, and if you want to remain competitive in today’s market, you need to give your workers the freedom and flexibility they demand.
By migrating to the cloud, you will no longer need your workers to be present in your office in order to fulfill the needs of your customers. Your employees can work from almost anywhere with many different types of devices. Whether it’s a laptop in a coffee shop or a mobile phone in an airport, your people will be able to accomplish their tasks increasing their productivity.
3. Lower Costs and Maintenance
Server hardware infrastructure and software licensing continues to be a huge costs for businesses. Often the most expensive option is to buy a license out right. Not only is it costly, but you are almost guaranteed a future upgrade cost as well. Cloud companies usually offer subscriptions to these same services that are far more cost effective. By moving your company to the cloud, you will also save on hardware costs, as the bulk of the hardware you will need will be supplied by the cloud provider.
Not only will you save on buying the software and hardware, but your maintenance costs will go down as well. In many cases, companies maintain support contracts with hardware vendors in addition to a staff or army of consultants to take care of it. By moving everything to the cloud, you can reduce your dependence on these traditional information technology costs because the hardware will be operated and maintained by your new cloud partner.
4. Increase Collaboration and Response
With each passing year, the workplace becomes increasingly fast paced. This means you need to do everything you can to respond to your customers as quickly as possible if you hope to remain competitive in your chosen market. With applications and communication tools in the cloud, you can increase the collaboration between your employees so solutions to your customers problems are found and implemented in a much more timely manner.
With the cloud, employees will easily be able to share their data with each other immediately allowing them to solve your customers’ problems and close deals much more efficiently. With the many cloud based communication tools, your workers will be able to discuss each situation in real time from almost anywhere. These solutions improve overall response time to your customers and allow you to close deals and resolve issues much faster compared to a traditional IT setup.
5. Better Security and Disaster Protection
There is a belief that by moving your data and applications to the cloud, you open your business up to even more security risks compared to keeping your data in house. But the truth is most cloud infrastructure is much more secure compared to your local computers and servers. In today’s world security is paramount, and by moving to the cloud you gain the benefits of added security for your small business.
At the same time, you must consider the security of your data. Cloud infrastructure is regularly backed up and stored off site to ensure that your data is safe no matter what happens. Compare that to your current backup plan. Would your business survive if a true disaster struck? Would your data remain safe? No matter what your disaster plan, the safety of your company data is paramount, and the cloud can ensure that your data will be there for you while you recover from even the worst disaster.
While many small business owners may believe that the cloud is simply out of their reach or just overkill for what they do, the truth is the cloud can easily scale to any size business while keeping costs under control and ensuring secure access to their data 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. While there may be a few growing pains when migrating to the cloud, in the end it is a worthwhile endeavour that can provide many benefits to every small business owner.