Head (or, Business) in the Clouds - 5 Benefits of Cloud Computing for Small Business
July 14, 2022
Ready to drive your small business into the future? An investment in cloud computing can provide the technological backbone you need to accelerate your growth. However, before you get started, you need to know how this type of IT structure can support your long-term expansion and how to implement it properly.
Following the pandemic, companies have continued their push toward digital and cloud technologies. That's why Forbes placed this form of investment on its list of key trends that will drive small businesses in 2022.
Companies have continued their push toward digital and cloud technologies. That's why Forbes placed this form of investment on its list of key trends that will drive small businesses in 2022.
To get the most out of your push into the cloud, first you should understand the value it will bring to your business. This article explains the benefits of this technology and how to get started with putting it into place.
What is cloud computing for business?
In general, cloud computing refers to a process for data storage and retrieval. Rather than having information contained on a physical device that you need to access directly (like, say, a thumb drive or a specific computer), the data exists in a form readily available online. Your team can plug into "the cloud" and use the information from anywhere.
As you'd guess, this form of infrastructure became vital during the pandemic. Companies used it to support their remote workplace. Already a growing trend in business before the virus hit, the COVID shutdowns spurred an acceleration in cloud computing.
To take advantage of this innovation, you need to understand the basics. In general, there are four types of cloud structures you can choose from:
This type of cloud system is entirely controlled by a single user. Think of it as a proprietary infrastructure dedicated to your business.
Small businesses typically turn to a public option. These systems are operated by third-party firms, such as Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services.
As the name implies, this process involves the use of multiple cloud infrastructures at once. These could be run in parallel or (as we'll note in a second) as an integrated system.
This represents a specialized form of multicloud structure. In it, your multiple clouds are connected and operate as a unified whole.
What is cloud computing used for?
Now that you know the basics of cloud systems, how does it fit into your startup? There are a few main areas where this form of IT upgrade can deliver value to your small business:
A trusted employee has their laptop stolen. What happens to all the crucial documents they had stored on the hard drive? A cloud system provides a natural backup for any emergency.
Using cloud systems can improve your internal communications. Functions like email and messaging become more efficient. At the same time, your team members can share data and documents as necessary.
Along with improved communication, you can use cloud systems to build tighter collaboration. In the post-COVID age, when remote work has become the norm at many companies, your employees can operate from anywhere. Meanwhile, processes, like having multiple people edit a document, become easier and more streamlined.
We live in a world of big data. Even small businesses benefit from having a quantitative basis for decision-making. Cloud computing makes this easier by giving you an efficient way to gather, store, and analyze information.
What are the benefits of cloud computing for small businesses?
Any company can take advantage of cloud computing, from Fortune 500 behemoths to the not-quite-out-of-the-garage startups. However, some of the benefits of this form of IT infrastructure give substantial value to smaller businesses. Here are some of the main ways a cloud transition could accelerate your burgeoning expansion:
Improve Flexibility: The pandemic taught everyone the value of flexibility. A cloud structure leaves you ready to respond to any unexpected situation (good or bad) that could arise.
Increase Data Security: One unfortunate incident can mean death for a small business. Lower your risk through a cloud system, allowing you to lock down your precious information.
Connect Your Team: Cloud technology lets you embrace the remote future. The progress started during the COVID emergency can help you build a dynamic team that can collaborate no matter where individuals are located.
Accelerate Innovation: The tools delivered with cloud technology can unlock faster product development. Data analysis and closer collaboration will let you drive innovation -- a key to reaching your disruptive potential as a startup.
Lower Costs: IT hardware can get expensive. As a small business, you need to focus your resources on the crucial aspects of your growth plan, rather than spending much-needed capital on your tech backbone. Cloud options give you a scalable, low-cost way to get the functionality you need.
As a small business, you need to focus your resources on the crucial aspects of your growth plan.... Cloud options give you a scalable, low-cost way to get the functionality you need.
How to move your business to the cloud
Once you decide to push further into the cloud, you still have logistical concerns to overcome. Creating and utilizing your system requires a keen understanding of the possibilities and a level of technical know-how. Here are some steps to consider as you move forward:
- Research Your Options: Before jumping into a particular cloud infrastructure, understand the technology available and what best fits your situation.
- Find Good Partners: As a small business, you'll likely need some outside help to ramp up your cloud system. Whether you choose a public provider or hire a consultant to set up a private system, you'll need to find the right partners to get the most out of your cloud choices.
- Make a Migration Plan: Map out the system you will implement. At the same time, plot how you'll get your team on board. By making a clear, detailed plan, you'll save money and avoid headaches down the road.
- Train Your Staff: Maximize the value of your cloud transition by including your team in the process. Make sure they know how to best use the new system, so you can optimize the collaboration and communication benefits.
- Monitor Progress and Update as Needed: Don't think of your cloud implementation as a one-time event. Rather, consider it an ongoing process. Monitor the results and tweak your system as needed to get the most out of the opportunity.
Getting the most out of the cloud
If you haven't leveraged cloud computing to boost your business yet, 2022 is the year to do so. The path laid out during the pandemic can show you the way into the future.
Moving your business to the cloud provides many benefits. You'll improve your collaboration, lower your risks, and control your costs. Taking advantage of this just requires research and careful planning.