In the IT industry, it’s extremely crucial to maintain your infrastructure and constantly keep yourself updated with modern technology. However, doing this burns the pockets of organizations. The onset of cloud computing proved to be a boon, especially for small to medium-sized businesses. By leveraging cloud computing, small businesses not only reduced their upfront cost drastically but also gave them the freedom to access their system from anywhere in the world. In this article, I have tried to give a brief overview of cloud computing and what benefits it holds for small business owners. Let’s begin with various use cases of cloud computing.
Cloud Computing – Use Cases
There are a plethora of services that cloud computing offers to end users. One can pick the services based on their requirements. This is especially beneficial for small to medium-sized business owners. Unlike traditional infrastructure, where there is no room for partial scalability, cloud computing offers scalability as you like it on a pay-as-you-go basis. Cloud computing offers services like –
Cloud Storage – Why take the risk of storing your precious data on site where data can get corrupted due to mechanical failure, electrical short circuits, or any sort of natural calamity? Leveraging cloud storage ensures that your crucial data is stored in a RAID 1 or RAID 5 configuration so that in the unlikely event of mechanical failure, your data is never jeopardized. Cloud storage also offers the flexibility of sharing files across multiple devices.
Cloud Backup Services – This cloud service is essentially a failsafe solution during server crashes, cyberattacks, or other data losses. Cloud backup services is a combination of storage, real-time data synchronization, restoration, and high-level security.
Cloud Hosting – This service facilitates multiple types of information sharing like – hosting your business website, application hosting, email services, web-based phone systems, and/or managing your data. As the hosting is offsite, scaling to manage peak loads is effortless.
SaaS – Under this service model, you can run whole software on a cloud and make it readily available to your end-users across multiple devices. CRM software like Salesforce and accounting software like Quickbooks are the best examples of organizations that are leveraging the SaaS cloud service model.
There are a plethora of cloud service providers out there in the market that you can pick from. Almost all of them offer the same services. But if you need to pick amongst the top three, you can go for Amazon AWS, Microsoft Azure, or Google’s GCP. You can check out the complete comparison guide to pick the one best suited for your business needs.
Benefits of Cloud Computing for Small Businesses
According to a survey conducted by IDG, 92% of enterprises have reported leveraging cloud computing in one way or another. Undoubtedly, companies are benefiting vastly from cloud-based services. But what benefits cloud computing holds for small businesses?
Reduced Infrastructure Costs
As mentioned earlier, the prime benefit of cloud computing for small businesses is that it saves a “lot of” time and money spent on purchasing and maintaining IT infrastructure. By using cloud computing, small businesses can focus more on core business processes rather than spending time on making every piece of equipment work.
Room for Scalability
Scalability is the biggest fear every organization faces while relying on traditional IT infrastructure. What if their business starts booming and they need to deal with increased traffic? Traditionally, it would mean ditching all the old systems and re-investing in new hardware. Cloud computing offers the perfect solution for your growing business needs. One can easily scale their cloud infrastructure as you need it with the click of a few buttons.
Ease of Collaboration
Ever since Covid spread across the globe, the majority of the workforce prefers working from the comfort of their home. With prime data being centrally maintained in a cloud environment, physical distance doesn’t act as a hindrance to any sort of collaboration.
For example, when you are working on a project that has to be accomplished by a group of people, each employee can take over the task right from where the previous employee left.
Infographic created by HotWire Networks, a web hosting company
The good thing about cloud computing is that all your data is centrally stored. When compared to scattered data, centralized data becomes convenient for the administrator to secure the data from cyber-attacks.
Another unsaid advantage of using cloud computing is that if a device used to connect with the cloud is lost, your data is still safe from unauthorized access.
Real-time Information for Better Business Intelligence
Data can make more sense and contribute to your business growth. Centrally stored data is crucial for SMEs to turn it into actionable information. Leveraging cloud computing, SMEs can eliminate siloed communication and enable cross-functional collaboration. Centralized data also ensures that your teams are working with a trustable source of data.
How Much Does Cloud Computing Costs?
Cost computing costs depend on the cloud service you want to opt for and also on the service provider. Typically the costs include –
- Cloud storage and file-sharing services like Dropbox start at $20 per user per month
- Cloud backup and cloud recovery services like Carbonite. It can cost you up to $50 per month.
- AWS offers a plethora of cloud-based services that you can avail yourself of on a pay-as-you-go basis.
If you are moving from traditional to the cloud, there must be tons of questions that you still have right now. Although not complex, it is best to talk with a cloud consultant and get all of your queries answered. This will help you in making an informed decision. A cloud consultant can also assist you with optimizing and maintaining all your cloud infrastructure on your behalf so that you can focus on what’s important for growing your business.
The world today is moving in the direction of efficiency combined with flexibility. The Cloud computing solution is essentially the best of both worlds. As the future of cloud computing is bright, SMEs investing in it would be making them future-proof as well as empowering their businesses to think big.
Leveraging cloud computing breaks traditional silos, makes you financially stable, protects your data from cyber-attacks, etc. Cloud computing also enables small businesses to experience data-driven analytics necessary to make an informed decision based on data. If you have anything to add to the list, let me know in the comments below.