Today, cloud computing has become part of the business mainstream, yet many small businesses are still unclear what cloud computing is and, more importantly, how it can benefit their business. Cloud computing, or software as a service, is when IT software and services are delivered over the web and through a browser. This transfers the responsibility for IT maintenance, software upgrades, and any system issues onto the service provider, allowing enterprises to focus on their core business instead of their infrastructure. IT professionals have put together the following 10 things to consider when getting started in the cloud:
1. Moving to the cloud is easy: The transfer of business information into the cloud is very straightforward. There is no need to install new hardware or software as everything is run by the cloud provider.
2. Cost savings could be higher than you anticipate: Businesses that move to the cloud can save on many different levels – IT hardware and software expenditure is cut dramatically and fewer staff or support resources are needed for IT maintenance.
3. Improved productivity: One of the key benefits of cloud computing is that employees can access documents and emails from anywhere. If your business demands mobility and flexibility or you have staff working remotely, the cloud could be an easy and affordable way of addressing these needs.
4. Greater level of security: Cloud computing can be more secure than traditional IT. Many established cloud suppliers employ leading security experts, invest vast amounts of money into securing their applications and develop technology beyond the means of any small business. In addition, the risk of losing confidential data on a laptop or a USB stick is also diminished, as everything is stored in the cloud and not on your devices.
5. Manage the cultural adjustment: Today’s employees expect to have the same technology at work that they enjoy at home. Google designs its applications with users in mind and many staff will already be familiar with Google Mail and Google Docs. However, internal communication about the change of service and in-house training sessions will help staff to feel more comfortable using the new technology.
6. A more collaborative way of working: Using cloud computing applications, people can access and work in the same documents in real time – without the need for hundreds of emails with attachments. Improved knowledge sharing and communication encourages creativity and productivity amongst your employees.
7. Flexibility to scale up or scale down your business: Cloud based “pay as you go” style services allow you to easily increase your use of cloud services as your business grows, or decrease your spending if you need to temporarily scale down.
8. Employees of tomorrow: Social media sites like Facebook or MySpace are all cloud environments. Most employees are now accustomed to collaborating online and accessing their data from any mobile device at hand, at any time.
9. Your business resiliency can be improved: Cloud computing providers offer increased resiliency and redundancy afforded by multiple data centers to ensure your information is always available. You experience less downtime than when managing IT in-house, and any problems can be solved far quicker by being fixed centrally.
10. More choice: In contrast to traditional IT models which can involve expensive software licenses and long lock-in contracts, the cloud model offers far more flexibility. You can switch providers easily and regularly in order to get the best experience and value for your money. However, it is important to check with your cloud provider as to how you retrieve data from their cloud should you choose to switch in the future.
For more information on what cloud computing can do for your business, contact Infinitely Virtual by phone (866) 257-8455 or visit www.Infinitelyvirtual.com