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How Cloud Computing Services Helps Small Businesses Save Money
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Whether you're using free cloud computing service tools or paid subscription services, moving more and more of your company's activities and data into the cloud can save you lots of money and have a dramatic impact on your bottom line.
The cloud is merely a catchy term for third-party hardware and software that you can access over the internet. When you store data in the cloud, you are storing it on a server deep in the recesses of a secure facility, many of which are operated by big companies like Google, Rackspace, and Amazon, to name a few. Similarly, when you run scripts using programs that are hosted in the cloud, you are using the processing power of these servers.
Before cloud computing services, small business owners had to store data on their employees' individual computer hard drives and on local servers that they had to purchase, protect, and maintain - this was very expensive. Not only did they have to buy all the hardware and software needed for their business, but they also had to employ a full-time systems admin to set everything up and keep it running smoothly.
Now, a small business can subscribe to a cloud computing service and be up and running almost instantly. There's no need to purchase expensive server equipment or hire extra staff.
Cloud computing can also help reduce operating expenses, especially when compared with traditional computing methods. By tapping into the power of the cloud, employees can access extra processing power, which will help them run scripts or use programs that their computer could not handle promptly - this reduces the need to continually upgrade employees' computers to add more and more processing power as the business grows.
Another way cloud computing reduces operating expenses is by providing built-in security for your data. Cloud storage facilities are located in secure buildings that are protected from physical and digital threats. The facility will probably have on-site security staff to prevent intruders from vandalizing the servers or stealing hardware. They will also have safety measures in place to prevent damage from disasters like fires, water leaks, and electrical surges. Cloud storage companies also take digital security very seriously. It will be challenging for anyone to hack into your data or infect it with a virus while it is behind the firewalls, encryptions, and various antivirus protections set up by a cloud storage company.
Cloud computing services can also help reduce operating expenses associated with software. By customizing software hosted on the cloud instead of creating their proprietary software from scratch, businesses can achieve substantial savings. Small businesses can even find free equivalents of MS Office programs in the cloud, to save even more money. Many people seem to find cloud software more intuitive and easier to use - this means fewer calls to the company's IT help desk, and lower expenses.
One operating expense that small businesses might not think about is electricity. When you have your bank of servers, however, that power bill can start to soar. Why not let a cloud computing company absorb that expense instead?
Common sense tells us not to put all our eggs in one basket. But when small businesses store all their data on on-site servers, they are doing just that. If something were to happen at the office, such as a power surge or a catastrophic systems failure, that back-up server in the basement would probably be toast as well. Of course, cloud computing mitigates the risk of data loss because the servers are located offsite--in another city, another state, or even halfway across the world!
Some cloud computing services can be configured to automatically back up specific files off employee computers - this reduces the chances that your business could lose important records because an employee forgot to do a backup, and then his computer crashed.
Cloud computing improves employees' ability to work collaboratively. Instead of emailing work files to one another, they can upload them to the cloud, where any of their coworkers can access them (assuming, of course, that they have the proper digital permissions). They don't need to be at their work computer or even in the building to do this. Personal laptops, tablets, and smartphones can all be synced to the cloud so that they are instantly updated each time someone edits a file.
By freeing employees from their desks, cloud computing services allow them to multitask more efficiently. For example, a salesperson can access his or her company's data on the go via the cloud, to track new leads, record a sale, or see a client's account in real time - this means no more wasted flight time for traveling salespeople. If their flight has wifi, they can work.
One of the most significant benefits of cloud computing is that it allows small companies to access the kind of technological resources that they would not be able to afford otherwise - this makes them more competitive and will enable them to go up against much bigger companies with established market presences. Small businesses that use cloud services are lean and focused, directing all of their energy toward core business activities rather than maintaining and updating hardware and software.
Without in-house servers and data protection needs draining their resources, small businesses have more capital to reinvest in themselves. And as their fortunes rise and fall, they can quickly scale their cloud computing services up or down to accommodate their changing needs. For example, if a small marketing company suddenly secures a big client, they can quickly change their cloud storage subscription plan to make room for all the large image files they will be creating for that client. And when the project is over, they can change their subscription plan again and only pay for the storage they need. We can provide cloud computing service prices from a range of companies so you can compare prices in one place. We are confident cloud computing is the way forward to provide increased business productivity.
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