The spread of cloud computing is one of the more important developments in the development of the internet. In some ways, it was the next logical step after inventing the internet. The cloud takes the basic idea of the world wide web and combines it with the concept of an intranet, making something that offers the best parts of both. There are many ways in which cloud computing can help a small business to succeed, so let’s talk about the most important ones.
1. Eliminating The Need For On-Site IT Equipment
Small businesses often don’t have the funds to acquire the necessary IT equipment. This includes computers, servers, routers, cables, and all the other hardware that is needed to make a network run smoothly. Using a public server just isn’t a good option for companies that deal with sensitive data (which is most of them). Thus, a new business has pretty much two options: Build a server to serve an intranet or use the cloud.
Going with the cloud offers a big cost savings for new or unequipped businesses. Setting up that monthly cloud plan is going to be a lot cheaper than creating the infrastructure for an entire company network. Further, if your company is exceptionally small, it may not even be practical to run an in-house server. The cloud takes care of all that, saving you time, space, and money.
2. A Large And Scalable Storage Space
A lot of people don’t understand how cumbersome it once was for companies to store files. These files, when in physical printed form, would take up huge amounts of space. Because the law requires businesses to keep and retain certain records, there was no way to get around this problem. Digital storage changed all that and the cloud took it a step further.
The cloud allows users to store as much data as they need. Of course, if the limits prove to be insufficient, more space can always be purchased. This is what we mean when we say that the cloud is scalable: You can use as much or as little space as you need. For companies with limited physical space, the cloud can become an indispensable tool for file retention.
3. The Cloud Streamlines The Backup Process
If you’ve kept up with all the ransomware attacks in the last few years, you can understand how important backups can be. Using ransomware, a hacker can lock you out of the entire system, holding your files hostage in order to extort payment from you. Of course, if you have a recent backup, you can laugh at those demands and delete everything…including the malware that caused the problem. At that point, it’s a simple matter of restoring and restarting.
Restoring your entire system from a backup isn’t exactly fun, but it’s a whole lot better than the alternative. Unfortunately, backup files tend to be rather large. When you create a “snapshot” of an entire system or network, there is just no way to fit all of that into a tiny file. Using a managed cloud backup system, you can make the whole process a lot faster and more efficient. Business cloud backup services need to be securely encrypted, however, to ensure that an attacker doesn’t go after them, too!
4. Cloud-Based Software Can Save You Money
If you’ve looked into the services offered by cloud providers, you are probably familiar with the concept of SaaS (Software as a Service). The name pretty much tells us what this is all about: Cloud providers offer access to special software as part of your overall cloud plan. If you can find something that suits your needs, it can save you money on proprietary software subscriptions (which tend to be rather high).
One great thing about cloud software is the fact that you will only need to buy it once. You won’t have to worry about getting multiple licenses for multiple machines or anything like that. Instead, the software will be available to all cloud users unless you have disabled that feature for their profile. Obviously, some tools should not be in the hands of low-level people, so this kind of access restriction is a must.
5. The Cloud Probably Offers Better Security
There is an ongoing debate about the security (or insecurity) of the cloud. As we have told you before, it’s all about how you configure that network. In essence, the well-known TOR network is a lot like an encrypted cloud. Each “node” acts much like a specific cloud server. Since we know that the TOR browser is pretty secure, we can see that cloud networks are capable of being just as secure as any other.
Here is one problem, though: Small businesses often can’t afford to hire good cybersecurity people. The best people in that field are in high demand, so their services are not normally cheap. Thus, it becomes practical to use a secured cloud rather than attempting to cobble something together with inferior staff and resources.
Here is the bottom line: Cloud providers know that they can be held liable if their security is poor, and they will likely present a much harder target than you will. If a cloud company gets hacked, their chances of staying in business aren’t too great, so they will be highly motivated to keep the network clean and monitored.
The first item on our list is probably the most important. It just isn’t practical for many small businesses to spend the money for a private server. What seems like a simple matter can quickly balloon into a large expense, whereas cloud fees are straightforward and predictable. Still, all these other factors can also make for big differences in terms of cost and effectiveness. If you would like to find out more about the ways in which cloud computing can benefit your small business, you can call PCH Technologies at (856) 754-7500.