Cloud computing refers to networks, servers, storage systems, databases, and other computing resources delivered via the internet. The cloud has become inescapable in people’s day-to-day activities — whether it’s doing online banking, emailing a colleague, or watching a movie via a streaming service, there’s cloud technology involved. While cloud technology offers unparalleled convenience to individuals, its advantages for businesses are even greater.
Before the cloud became ubiquitous, businesses had to rely on in-house servers and use wired computers to operate. Today, it’s inconceivable for any organization to function without the cloud. Many small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), in particular, find it more practical to use cloud solutions than manage an in-house system themselves. Cloud services for small businesses are key to keeping a competitive edge and reaping the following benefits.
Scalable computing resources
Cloud scalability is the ability to add or increase computing resources in response to changing operational demands. Acquiring the right amount of computing resources can be challenging for small businesses’ IT teams, but with cloud services, it’s a lot easier and more cost-efficient.
With cloud services, a business that is expanding its operations can simply scale up its computing resources, whether it be storage or computing power. In most cases, scaling up does not require large spending on additional hardware. Similarly, an SMB that is downsizing and therefore needs to reduce capacity can scale down just as easily.
Remote work and hybrid work-friendly
Remote working isn’t just a passing trend. A 2021 report by HP Wolf Security says that “23% of office workers globally expect to predominantly work from home post-pandemic”. Ditto businesses adopting a hybrid work model in which a company has employees working in the office, at home or other remote locations, and/or shuffling between locations at will.
Gone are the days when the only way to get work done is to go to the office and use in-house desktop computers. Today, everyone with a device (PC, laptop, smartphone) that can connect to the internet can work anywhere they please, thanks to cloud networks making IT systems highly accessible regardless of users’ location.
Reduced IT costs
Small businesses allocate a portion of IT budgets to purchase hardware and software and pay for data center maintenance, which includes staffing and electricity costs. These expenses easily add up. With outsourced cloud solutions, the cloud infrastructure is managed by the cloud service provider (CSP).
Many CSPs also offer subscription-based solutions, making small business IT budgeting more predictable and cost-efficient. That’s because you are only paying for the cloud services you need when you need them. Moreover, adding new users to your cloud environment does not require massive IT expenses since company cloud-based data and productivity programs can be accessed in the cloud using existing computers and devices.
Robust data recovery
Datto, a cybersecurity and data backup firm, reported that a single IT disruption can cost anywhere between $10,000–$5 million. SMBs will naturally want to protect their business data, but it will cost a lot of money to create a solid business continuity plan in which valuable data assets and IT infrastructure are fully protected and backed up. Fortunately, many cloud solutions offer disaster recovery features that ensure your data is recovered in the event of any data breach or disaster.
Boost in security
A recent study by CNBC revealed that a majority of small businesses in America are overconfident that their systems won’t be hacked, while some are not concerned at all. The same study revealed that while there are small businesses that are prepared in the event of an attack, some have no security plan in place. This is troubling, to say the least — small businesses shouldn’t be lenient with cybersecurity.
If you’re one of those small business owners who are concerned about cybersecurity, you’ll have much less to worry about with a cloud-based IT infrastructure. CSPs have comprehensive security and data governance measures in place to protect customers’ data. CSPs implement policies that secure your apps, data, and infrastructure against a variety of threats, so you don’t have to.
outsourceIT can help you make the most of the benefits of cloud services, no matter the size of your business and even if you have a limited budget. Our cloud technology experts can help — call us to get a FREE consultation.