In simple terms, the 'cloud' refers to the internet, and 'cloud computing' is when businesses, organisations or individuals access resources, data or software via the internet. Until recently, many businesses viewed cloud computing as something which wasn't relevant to them because it was either expensive, or too complicated. However nothing could be further from the truth.
A cloud for every business
One big benefit to smaller businesses is that cloud computing is very cost effective – instead of buying IT equipment and purchasing costly software licenses that you may never fully utilise, having a cloud solution means you can rent just what you need, and you only pay for what you use.
Cloud is a much more efficient way of managing IT, it's cost effective, and all the maintenance and upgrade costs are factored into a manageable and predictable monthly fee. There are no additional payments for new upgrades to the software, and no unexpected costs for fixing your systems if something goes wrong.
Pay as you grow
A cloud solution also allows your business to grow and shrink without your business having to make any risky up-front payments. Businesses whose systems use cloud will be able to quickly, easily and cheaply scale up their IT requirements as they're needed without the need for expensive new infrastructure.
With cloud you only pay for what you use, so you are free to expand without worrying about any expensive up scaling costs, and if you decide that you don't need the application then you just switch it off and you don't have to pay for it any longer.
Access your systems from anywhere
Mobile working and flexible working are no longer nice to haves for most businesses, they are business essentials, especially if you are looking to recruit a younger workforce. Flexible working can bring enormous benefits to business, especially start-ups, including reduced travel costs, increased productivity and retaining members of staff by allowing them greater flexibility.
Cloud computing is designed to be used at a distance, meaning no barriers to remote working and staff can just as easily access data at home or on the go as they can in the office.
How secure is the cloud?
Whether staff are in or out of the office, cloud computing is secure and reliable. Instead of the traditional method of saving data and applications on a server in the office, with a cloud solution your valuable information is saved remotely with an enterprise-level of security and with a built-in disaster recovery solution that only the biggest enterprise could afford.
With a cloud solution you have a 24/365 help desk (opens in new tab), the business will be employing security consultants, firewalls, and military-levels of security, compare this to the security you would have if you decided to do this for yourself, or even the level of security with a local IT supplier.
Disaster recovery and back-up strategies come as standard with cloud, and embracing the cloud means you have a far more robust strategy in place to best protect documents, important information and your business as a whole.
The cloud and growing businesses
The cloud is an exciting development, arguably one of the most significant technologies for businesses in recent years. But it's not just for large companies, in fact quite the opposite – smaller organisations can benefit enormously; from affordability to easily up scaling, supporting mobile workers to securing your businesses' vital data.