cloud computing20 years ago IT servers were a case of the bigger the better.  These days it is all about getting your business in the cloud. Check out the top 8 advantages for small businesses switching to cloud computing.

Cloud computing is fast becoming the norm because storing information and using software hosted on the Internet has many advantages.

1. Save money (hell yeah!)

Traditionally, a small business spends money licensing software or buying packages to install or download onto individual computers. Cloud computing, on the other hand, can provide ‘Software as a Service’ (SaaS) – including many programs that are available individually.

They’re stored on a service provider’s remote servers instead of on your hard drive so you don’t need a high-end computer to use them.

The automation provided by cloud computing also saves costs. Many companies have slashed there IT overheads by eliminating the need for large servers and continual maintenance because their service providers are directly taking care  of any maintenance for them.

2. Save time

Cloud computing was developed to be an on-tap service that requires little knowledge or input from the end user. Gone are the days where you had to log a support ticket with an external IT department, and have a days downtime before an IT issue was resolved.  Nowadays, each cloud software has their own support, often by instant chat or phone, and you can still continue with your day whilst you get the help you need.  Modern day businesses just can’t afford large downtimes for any reason.

3. Share more

Staff don’t have to rely on email to contend with location issues. For example, a colleague needing a document in one office can download the document directly via Dropbox or Google docs, rather than waiting for co-workers back at the office to find and email it.

You can also invite various people – staff, accountants, financial advisors into your accounting software, POS software to share information readily and easily.

4. Flexibility

Data storage is one of the core SaaS offerings of cloud computing – it allows even large corporates to access huge databases of information without having to operate their own floors of servers.

This outsourcing means that instead of having to invest in more hard drives and servers to increase capacity, a growing business can simply store everything on the cloud. All you need is an Internet connection and devices to access it (oh and super strong password programs of course).

5. Improve reliability

Cloud computing is proving that software as a service, rather than as a product, is more reliable. With so many people using a single program, instead of everyone using individual copies, service providers are directly managing software and being updated about issues immediately.

Fewer problems are arising because software isn’t being downloaded onto individually customised computers containing other programs and systems that the software might not be compatible with.

6. Be mobile

It’s almost as if cloud computing was designed specifically for mobile devices because you don’t rely on the device itself for storage capacity. You don’t have to email documents from home to work computers anymore. You can send invoices, check monthly sales results, send email newsletters all from an ipad or tablet from anywhere.

7. Improve security

Security is the biggest issue people have with cloud computing because users have to hand over responsibility for data security to their service providers.

Cloud computing always makes sense when it comes to guarding against physical theft, such as a break-in at a business’s premises. However, the hacking or system failure of servers containing masses of user data remains a concern. Always look for software that has 2 factor authentication enabled to add that extra layer of security.

8. Quickly recover from disaster

Backing up important documents on a separate hard drive is important, whether you’re using cloud computing or not. But in the case of a natural disaster that denies you access to your premises, cloud computing can be advantageous.

Because you can access your documents anywhere there’s an Internet connection, cloud computing can be a vital tool to ensure business continuity.

Studies have evaluated the lifecycle cost savings of cloud computing at up to 50% for companies using high numbers of in-house servers. Add to that, the elimination of service interruptions caused by traditional IT issues, such as downloading updates and fixing system errors, and your company can move forward a lot faster than your competition. And every little advantage as a small business owner should be taken.