Still on the fence about Cloud migration? If you’re anything like me, you steer clear of bandwagons. You’d rather get armed with solid information before making any business decision.
You may find a few reasons for not moving to the Cloud. Like the risk of data security. That’s why you have to choose your vendor carefully. Ask upfront for their contingency plans in the face of a data breach. But also have your own (some vendors use technologies to overcome privacy-related issues that are not effective).
Most companies feel the benefits of the Cloud outweigh the risk of security breaches. Here’s a smart safety measure for you. Ask your vendor how they approach user identity and encryption.
While the benefits of Cloud computing apply to businesses of all sizes, I focus here on what’s most relevant to you—the small business. I’ve put together this article to highlight eight benefits of Cloud computing for small business (psst. I saved the best for last).
To drive these benefits home, lean in and let me tell you a story.
Bea owns a small family business. She and I are inseparable. You see, she lives in my imagination. But her issues don’t. They are very real and relevant.
You’ll probably recognize at least one or two of these issues because they are every small business owner’s issues. The solutions Bea finds for her small business are real, too. As real as that keyboard under your hands.
Bea took over her dad’s bakery a few years ago. Like her, he had taken it over from his dad. Bea takes pride in serving loyal customers in her community. But she knows growth and expansion is the only way to compete in today’s ever-changing food manufacturing industry.
She plans to open more locations across the country and partner with grocery stores who will carry her baked goods. So, to meet growing demands of her business, she needs a whole new way of doing business.
Bea still runs her business outside of the Cloud, but maybe not for long. She’s on the brink of making a decision that could change everything!
Benefits of Cloud Computing for Small Business
I’ll get back to Bea in a minute. First, let’s see what helped her make this critical decision. These benefits of Cloud computing for small business are proven by the huge numbers of small businesses around the globe.
Access information from any geographic location with Internet connection. Data is stored in a central, web-based hub that gives anyone with pre-approved credentials access. Users can access all types of files and applications that they otherwise have to go to work to access.
2. Automatic Updates
Sync data for all devices connected to the Cloud. This keeps all devices updated in real time…as data is entered. Whether at work or not, even if you can’t access your office server, data in the Cloud is always up to date and available.
Working on the same project or presentation from different locations in is easy. The Cloud is the best place to collaborate. Sharing ideas, plans, proposed schedule changes, and more in real time enables you to feel closer than ever while working remotely. It’s motivating and leads to higher productivity.
Agility is needed to compete in the current global marketplace. This includes having the ability to pounce on opportunities and recover from losses at lightning speed. You also need the ability to scale your business up or down as needed. The Cloud enables all of this. In the Cloud, you can add resources fast, without interrupting your business users. Need a new server? Check. Need more people on your user list? Check.
Some excellent Cloud-based solutions are out there to automate and simplify key business functions. Take payroll, for example, generally complex and full of regulation and tax laws. The best online payroll solutions have those rules built-in so you can relax and know you’re covered. You can even give access to your accountant so she can stay on top of things. You’ll also find options for invoicing and bookkeeping (which you can give your accountant access to). You can generate reports anytime, including end-of-year so as to simplify tax preparation.
Small businesses cannot usually afford in-house IT. But when an issue comes up, whether your IT is in-house or a vendor, the issue can mean long down-time, meaning significant revenue lost. Business in the Cloud means you get around the clock IT expertise watching over your data, ready to fly into action.
Today, it’s advisable to try and minimize our footprint. By operating in the Cloud we avoid buying large amounts of hardware, ink, paper, and more.
You’re not alone if fears of security breaches keep you on the fence. But looking at these facts will help ease you off (the first of these stats is from a 2017 Cloud security report).
- Businesses surveyed showed on-premises data centers had a 51 percent higher rate of security incidents than those in the Cloud.
- 94 percent of SMBs reported seeing security benefits in the Cloud that they hadn’t seen with their on-premise IT system.
- In the Cloud, your systems are kept up-to-date, spam email managed, and antivirus software kept up-to-date. All work in tandem to keep your data secure.
- The safest policy is to back-up your data so that you are not relying 100% on the vendor for your data security. And use encryption.
- The problem with encryption is if you’re sharing access to data, you’ll need to give each party the key to unlock the encryption. That can get iffy because each time you hand that key out, it increases the odds of a security breach.
After considering these benefits, Bea knew it was time to draft a step-by- step-action plan. Here’s what else excited her:
- Cloud-based ERP solutions are the perfect solution to:
- Trace production from their raw materials to finished goods
- Accelerate production and distribution
- Maintain end-to-end control
- Speed up sales order processing
- Speed up warehouse packing and shipping
- Gain more accuracy every step of the way
- Cost savings for her business:
- Paying for services on a per-use or monthly basis
- Avoiding expensive licenses
- Avoiding expensive upgrading of hardware and software
- Avoiding annual maintenance fees
Bea also did a ‘before and after’ comparative analysis, looking at items that:
- cost her the most to manage
- take the most time to manage
- are a hassle to manage
Then she Googled each of those functions and ‘software’. She found online tools that help her do those tasks better and more cost-efficiently in the Cloud.
Ready to Experience These Kind of Benefits?
Running and scaling a business is cheaper and easier in the Cloud! No wonder Intuit predicts that 80% of small US businesses will be in the Cloud by 2020.
To find out exactly how you can achieve these benefits of Cloud computing for small business, contact us today!