If you’re a small business, moving your company data and applications online to the cloud could save you time and money.
With many employees now having or choosing to work from home, traditional office IT setups can cause problems.
Here are the key benefits of cloud computing for small businesses, alongside some of the best cloud solutions and servers.
Moving your small business to the cloud allows you to be more flexible. Instead of only being able to access spreadsheets and documents on a work computer’s hard drive – or emailing yourself the latest version – cloud computing lets anywhere become your office.
If you’ve used the online version of Word when editing documents for an email, or use OneDrive or Google Drive, you already know how this works. You won’t have to worry about having multiple versions of a document; there will just be one. You can still download files and use traditional offline software to work on them, but cloud computing allows small businesses to choose where and how they work.
Following on from the above, cloud computing lets multiple people access a spreadsheet or document at the same time.
Gone are the days of having to email and download multiple versions of documents. Keeping documents on the cloud allows you to streamline editing, with many solutions offering a way to see who made changes where. You can get changes agreed faster.
Cloud computing also allows employees to add to a spreadsheet in real time – collecting a lot of data from multiple people, faster.
Cloud is generally considered to be more secure (presuming your solution follows security guidance and best practice).
Moving to the cloud helps small businesses protect files and information from hardware crashes. Many cloud solutions will store your data across multiple locations, so all is not lost if one fails. If you’ve ever lost the contents of a broken computer, you know how hard this can be.
By storing everything online, you won’t risk losing work forever, or having to pay for recovery services for a frazzled hard drive.
If storing important, confidential data online seems like a bad idea, don’t worry – cloud solutions offer state-of-the-art security. Many of the biggest businesses in the world have migrated fully to the cloud. Visit our Azure & AWS Security Services for more information.
One of the most important benefits of cloud computing for small businesses is that it can lower costs. Online applications like Google Drive, Sheets and Docs are free – instantly allowing companies to save on that Microsoft Office or Apple iWork spend. If you’re a small business, you might not need a lot of space or computing capacity. You may potentially be able to work entirely from the cloud, for free.
Small businesses needing more space for data, or computing capacity for software and hosting, can look at flexible cloud services that offer pay-as-you-go costs. We offer Azure & AWS Cost Optimisation Services, to help you work smarter and reduce your spend on the cloud.
If you’re using applications and software on the cloud, you don’t have to worry about endlessly downloading updates. You’ll always be using the most up to date software and services, so you can focus on working on your projects and keeping your small business afloat.
You’ll also have a direct line to experts, who can help answer your questions or any problems with their services online.
Similarly, you don’t have to rely on physical office servers and data storage for your business when everything is stored on the cloud.
Unfortunately, you can’t use the excuse of ‘all my files are on a broken computer’ if you’ve moved to cloud computing. Larger offices can also still use internal physical storage and servers alongside the cloud if they wish, as some cloud providers offer hybrid solutions.
If cloud technology improves or costs drop, you immediately benefit. If you have your own hardware, you will not get improvements.
Cloud computing services can be used for almost everything. Services like AWS offer solutions for storage, website development, game design and even artificial intelligence. There are a wide range of cloud services to choose from, and many offer pay-as-you-go prices. If your small business is a tech startup, you can potentially run your whole business from the cloud, including the software you use day-to-day.
Read our blog post explaining what AWS is and what it’s used for for an idea of some of the things cloud computing can help with.
Small businesses don’t always stay as small businesses, and cloud computing is ideal for companies that need high flexibility. Cloud solutions can offer a sliding scale of capacity, whether that’s for storing files or computing, so you only pay for what you need.
You can have unlimited storage, whether that’s for customer information, image files, or thousands of spreadsheets.
“The key difference is between collaboration tools (like Office, Gmail, OneDrive etc.) and cloud hosting for applications and software products i.e. if you have built software to run for your customers then that is when you need to consider using AWS or Azure.”
This depends on a number of factors, such as how your emails and existing files are set up, how many people will be using the cloud, and how much storage and computing capacity you need. Popular cloud storage solutions include OneDrive, Google Drive, Dropbox, BT Cloud and Apple iCloud for Mac users. Each has a different monthly cost, and Amazon allows you to save money when you buy a yearly plan.
If you’re on Gmail, you’ll already be familiar with Google Drive, while Microsoft Office lovers will find moving to OneDrive an easy step. Small businesses have also found cloud conferencing and team collaboration solutions like Zoom, Slack and Google Meet useful.
Small businesses in the tech sector, or with more complex needs, may find cloud solutions like AWS and Microsoft Azure better.
Physical servers often have more space than a small business will ever need to use, so a cloud based server is a good solution. If your small business gets bigger, a cloud based server can grow with your company needs. This way, you’ll only pay for the space or capacity you need.
Again, it depends. If you’re a small business specialising in website development or game design, cloud computing solutions like AWS offer unique services to help you compete. Most small businesses will need some kind of communication infrastructure, and a place to store and work on files together. We advise you what services your small business might need, and what cloud computing solution is best.
Here’s a list of some of the biggest companies using Amazon Web Services for an idea of how cloud computing can be used.
Sure! We understand that transferring years of data and files to the cloud isn’t easy, so we offer a range of lift and shift solutions and AWS Migration Services. Whether you’re looking for specialist infrastructure, a bespoke solution for your sector, or budgeting, we can help.
Interested in taking your small business to the next level? Get in touch about our latest AWS and Azure advice and cloud services.
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