Storing information “in the cloud” isn’t some whimsical notion for the future anymore — it’s reality. Cloud computing statistics show that cloud computing saves businesses, big and small, from wasting time, money and manpower. But what has convinced these businesses to bite the bullet and make the switch? At Insight, we’ve created a list of the top ten reasons Small and Medium Businesses (SMBs) should embrace cloud computing.
- You only pay for what you need.
Bulky server stacks don’t only take up a lot of room — they also take up quite a bit of your budget. With the arrival of cloud technology, businesses no longer have to pay thousands of dollars upfront for hardware that quickly becomes outdated or needs to be expanded. Instead, the cloud essentially allows you “rent” space in a major company’s hard drive, based only on how much you need at any given time. If the time comes when you no longer need to store data in the cloud, you can cancel your subscription, meaning you aren’t left with old, used equipment to recycle or resell. This will save cash in the long run.
- You can access files anywhere, at any time, from any device.
Most of cloud computing’s magic can be found in its accessibility. Storing your files in the cloud means you can access them with any computer, tablet or smartphone, as long as you keep your login information handy. You don’t have to be hard-wired into a local drive; instead, your files are instantly available for you to use, whenever and wherever you need them.
- Your business receives access to big data.
Almost every cloud storage provider collects, organizes and sells masses of data. This “big data” provides invaluable insight into your target demographic, relevant market trends and more. And while enterprise-level data is normally too expensive for SMBs, it’s often included in the cost of cloud storage or offered at a significantly discounted price. Not only can you access your files at any time, but you can also access data that helps you more effectively market and sell your business’s products or services.
- You enjoy license mobility.
Gone are the days of paying for licenses for individual computers. Today, cloud storage providers allow their users to access their saved files from any connected device, rather than requiring users to pay for one license per device. Although cloud storage used to be pricey and somewhat of a hassle to adapt to, it’s now easier and cheaper than ever with license mobility and flexibility.
- The cloud is more secure than a traditional storage system.
Contrary to popular belief, cloud storage actually offers more security than a traditional storage system (i.e. hard drives). This is because cloud storage companies place higher emphasis on complex, multi-layered security defenses and surveillance. Access to stored files is also highly controlled, both by the paying business owner (you) and the cloud provider. Finally, because cloud storage systems are maintained by highly skilled IT professionals, you know your files are safe if a risk does arise.
- You control who accesses what with the push of a button.
Remember that highly-controlled access we just mentioned? Depending on which cloud provider you use, you can quickly click, tap, or swipe to grant or restrict access to your business’s files. It no longer takes calling the IT guy or coming up with new passwords to change access for one of your employees. You’re in full control.
- There’s virtually no upkeep on your end.
You may be in full control, but you’re not responsible for any sort of storage maintenance. Storing your files in the cloud means trusting the provider to perform all the upkeep, which is another area in which those IT professionals come in. You don’t have to worry about cleaning hardware, replacing it as new generations arrive, monitoring firewalls and other time-consuming, costly maintenance tasks. That’s more time and money to focus on your business.
- You enjoy new features and functions the moment they’re released.
Cloud computing allows you to enjoy new technology as soon as it becomes available to consumers. There’s no installation or modification on your end; instead, the provider installs each update, then notifies you the moment they’re ready to use. Not only does this give you more time to work on your business, but it keeps you from feeling left out when the businesses around you enjoy innovative features you don’t have.
- Disaster recovery is a nonissue.
A broken pipe, a natural disaster, an office fire — though daunting, none of these have the power to delete your business’s files when you store them on the cloud. Hardware maintained by your cloud provider is heavily guarded against the elements, as well as from physical break-ins to access data. Why risk having your hardware stolen or spilled on when you could protect all your files with the cloud?
- The cloud streamlines existing business practices.
Businesses that take advantage of cloud computing enjoy a more streamlined and seamless SMB experience. Not only are maintenance and updates off their to-do lists entirely, but they always know exactly how much storage space they are using or have available. Their employees also have the option to work from home, a hotel during a business trip or a café if that’s their style, because files are available on any licensed device. The cloud saves time and stress.
What convinced you to embrace cloud computing at your small or medium-sized business? What questions do you have about cloud storage? Share your thoughts in the comments.