5 Ways Small Businesses can Utilize Cloud Computing

cliudPut simply, cloud computing means storing data and accessing applications, documents and software via the internet instead of the more traditional method of using your computer’s hard drive. A lot of people wonder why it’s known as the cloud, this is just a metaphor for the Internet.

Cloud computing services have completely transformed the way in which many businesses store, share and access data, below are some of the ways businesses are utilizing cloud computing:
 

Editing and sharing documents

Office software such as Microsoft Office is used by millions of businesses worldwide. However, it’s not the most cost efficient option, especially when you need one license for every computer that the software is installed on. Luckily, this is no longer a problem for businesses! Cloud based computing services such as Google Docs and Microsoft office 365 provide businesses with an online office suite that that you can access from any location via the internet.

CRM Software

Customer Relationship Management software is an extremely convenient method of storing customer details and keeping a record of when you contact them. Because implementing CRM systems within a business tends to be time consuming and expensive, it was only financially viable for larger companies with large budgets. Cloud computing has completely changed this, because now you don’t have to worry about setting up an entire CRM system by yourself, you can just log in to a CRM service via the internet.


Emails

If your business doesn’t have its own email server, then it’s more than likely that your emails are hosted in the cloud. Email services such as Gmail and Yahoo Mail are both cloud-based. The cloud isn’t just about modern and complex applications; it also about providing businesses with reliable business tools. The great thing about using cloud-based email services is that you don’t have to worry about backing up your emails as the cloud service provider automatically does this for you.

Backup and storage of data

As well as storing files on a physical computer, many businesses are now storing files in the cloud. Not only is this a great way of backing up data, but it also allows users to access the files remotely from any location in the world. Using cloud based services to store files also minimizes the likelihood of businesses losing sensitive and critical data. Try a service such as Dropbox to get a better understanding of how cloud storage works.

Servers

Purchasing and installing a network server provides businesses with a lot of flexibility, but it’s also quite cost prohibitive. Rather than purchasing a server, many businesses are going down the route of renting a server that they can access via the internet. The cloud hosted server is housed in a specialist data center and managed by a hosting company. This is also an ideal solution for businesses that don’t have enough storage to house their own server.

Benefits of cloud computing for businesses

There are many benefits to cloud computing, these include:

  • Scalability – Cloud hosted solutions are infinitely scalable, meaning that you can increase or decrease your level of usage in alignment with your businesses needs. Many cloud service providers offer usage based pricing modules; this ensures that you only pay for the services that you use.
  • Cost efficiency – By utilizing cloud computing, businesses can save a significant amount of money on the costs of buying and maintain servers, hiring dedicated IT staff, and upgrading software. Cloud computing also allows businesses to access the most up to date versions of software and programs that would otherwise cost a lot of money to install.
  • Improved collaboration – Cloud computing allows employees to conveniently share documents with each other online. For example, user 1 can upload a word document to the cloud, user 2 can then log in and make changes to that same document.

This article was contributed by David at Circle Cloud Services. Image courtesy Daniel Iversen

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