It is always best to start a business on a good note with the right tools and practices. As such, building reliable grounds for everything that revolves around your business is as good as smashing your business goals. For small businesses, it is essential to keep records in a safe place for reference purposes when they need them. More importantly, getting these records on the go even if you aren’t where the records are, physically, is the highlight.
As a business owner (small business owners inclusive), you must understand the basics of cloud computing and its effectiveness for your business growth. Reasons why
Today, broadband internet has made it possible and more accessible for businesses to meet their daily needs and bring convenient access to these needs. Imagine you’re far away from the center point of the server that holds your information or data, and you have a medium to access in real-time. This is the power of cloud computing. That is why streamlining your business operations becomes seamless when you’re able to use the likes of Slack for team communication, Dropbox for storing your files, and Salesforce for customer-relation management. Using any of these shows you know the power of reaching information on the go, and that’s a form of cloud computing.
What is cloud computing?
Simply, this is storing your information on the “cloud,” a remote server where you can access them anywhere or anytime so far there is an internet connection. With the change in business technology, small business owners don’t have to worry about the time and place they need their information. Although storing such relevant information on the remote serve comes with a risk, of course, a reduced risk when you have a non-easy-to-guess password assigned. To make this accessible to your team members, there is a need to share the password or grant them access to the file or data. This does two things for you:
- It allows only permitted people to gain access to your programs or information
- It makes work easier for the next person who will be working on the updated file
According to a statistic, approximately 3.6 billion internet users are projected to access cloud computing services in 2018, an increased figure compared to 2013’s 2.4 billion users. This shows how progressive the technology landscape and its users have been over the years, which signals how fast-paced business owners are operating using cloud computing.
What is cloud computing used for?
As business owners, you probably don’t know there is an iota of accomplishment that comes with accessing your data anytime and anywhere. When this happens, everyone connected to the server is availed with the same resources once they have access.
Below are a few other uses of cloud computing:
- File storage
- Data backups
- Data analytics
- Recovery strategy
- IaaS and Paas
- Social network/Communication
- File storage: Of course, there are conventional ways of storing data, but there is a uniqueness in using cloud computing for the same feature. You may argue that your hard drive has a bigger size for your files and data, but what if you’re home and you need to access a piece of information on a hard drive at the office? In this case, you have to wait for the next day or the next time you visit the office before accessing the file(s). Imagine how stressful that can be, especially when the hard drive or similar conventional means of storing data isn’t close to you. This is why every business needs cloud storage for their data, and with this, you can save, edit and work on the file; so far, you have an internet connection, and the access isn’t restricted. You’d need the cloud storage for data synching purposes too, and that’s why we have cloud storage services like:
- Amazon S3
- Google drive
With these and more, you not only have your information or programs safe but also get the affordable and easy-accessible service your business needs.
- Data backups: Today, businesses suffer a lot from cyber-attacks and data breaches, and the numbers keep going up the metrics every day. For years, businesses have had the pleasure of saving and backing up their big data using traditional methods. Due to their portability, these methods could get lost easily, which could be a significant setback for businesses if they cannot retrieve the information.
A simple way to avoid all these challenges is using a cloud-based backup and archiving. Cloud-based storage systems provide your business with the needed data security it needs, making sure your data remains intact. With a cloud-based backup and archiving, you do not have to bother about any compromise of the primary data. This is because you have it saved on the “cloud,” which saves your business the stress of spending a fortune to recover live data. Another interesting thing to note about cloud computing services and backups is that they could be personalized in a way that suits your business ethics.
How do I do that?
By encrypting your data which makes it impossible for intrusion or hackers gaining access to your privacy. This also restricts team members who aren’t expected to have access to that specific business information.
What if I have a large data to backup?
You shouldn’t worry about the space or size of your business data. Remember, with cloud storage services, you’re only charged for what you use. So with that, you can get as much space you need and store as much data as you want. It’s a win-win.
- Data analytics: As a business, you are expected to have data about your business, which requires you to analyze them properly. This involves data about so many things linked to your business which includes:
- data about your competitor so you can have the edge over the competition
- data about market trends
- data about your financial positions
- data about your sales and leads and more.
Not having these data mean that you’re one or more steps behind the business landscape. Imagine not having data about your customers and their behaviors to your service; how would you know the next thing to do to improve your service delivery? One of the most important reasons for collecting data and properly analyzing them is to make reasonable decisions and discover new ways of making things work in your business.
Collecting these data and analyzing them for your business needs comes with a corresponding higher price. In most cases, you might have to cut costs on other significant budgets to get the necessary conventional cloud computing resources. Moreover, as a small business, it will be prudent of you to have a low spending position on your financials, and one of the most effective ways of doing that is by adopting cloud computing. When you do this, you will only be charged based on how you used these resources, something like a pay-as-you-go strategy. This is an advantage to your business. However, one analytics service you can consider using is the Amazon Web Services (AWS).
- Recovery strategy: Everyone has a motive for staying in business, but what happens when all the most important precautions aren’t put into place? One occurrence can bring the business closer to its vision or disaster. No business wants to be caught unawares, but building traditional disaster recovery sites is expensive and time-consuming.
Guess what? Cloud computing is the way. With a cloud computing recovery resource, you can create a strategy that recovers your data and application services in the cloud.
How do I do that?
Simply create a replica model for your business’ data and configuration, and you’re good to go. So when a disaster strikes, you can quickly launch your services where you have a replica (in the cloud), and everything about your business comes back live as if nothing happened. You see how time-saving and cost-effective this is for your business? You could try out CloudEndure by Amazon Web Service to start yours.
- IaaS and PaaS: Infrastructure as a service (IaaS) is a cloud computing model where a cloud provider is saddled with the responsibility of storage, utilization of networking resources, and delivering the output to the needed compartments or organization virtually.
Example of IaaS:
- Cisco WebEx
- Google Workspace
Platform as a service (PaaS) is a cloud computing model that allows virtualized computing services as an application. This creates a medium for developers to build upon and create applications/software customized for the business needs.
Examples of PaaS:
- Windows Azure
- AWS Elastic Beanstalk
- Google App Engine
These cloud computing models give businesses an edge against the enormous costs and the long process required to develop in-house applications/software. With IaaS and PaaS, you do not need to wait for the installations required for hardware and software to work for a training session anymore. This is because everything could be controlled virtually, and every staff member can enjoy the same access and tools from a central server. It makes testing these applications and training tools faster, easier, cheaper, and less complex. As a business, cloud computing tools can shorten the time required to deliver your software for use, and the more you’re able to save time through this, the better it is for your business in the competitive bracket.
- Social network: It isn’t surprising seeing many vendors and businesses have their businesses online, which is an excellent development to see. Social media is one of the varieties of cloud computing because it allows people to meet one another and share information and data using tweets, hashtags, videos, and photos. Every business needs social networking as cloud storage for their data and information. Also, businesses must use social networking for brand recognition, exposure and relevance by creating a presence online contrary to physical businesses and the high cost of maintaining them.
As social media users keep rising geometrically, businesses should tap into the social networking sphere to bring their products and services (SaaS) to their prospective customers.
As a business conscious of time and how costly it is, it’s always best to employ tools that make the journey smooth and profitable. One of the ways to go about that is utilizing cloud computing resources maximally. This makes it easier for you to get things done, makes you more money, and reduces your risks. While other businesses pursue conventional means of storing their data services, which of course, carries a cost, you should be out there enjoying what cloud computing offers for your business and its cost-effectiveness.