Cloud computing has revolutionized the business world over the past few years by making it easier than ever to store data, transfer files, and compute large amounts of information quickly. As this business technology continues to grow in popularity, more and more businesses are deciding to switch over to cloud computing solutions and taking advantage of their many benefits. If you’re still unsure of whether cloud computing is right for your business, check out these 10 benefits below!
1) Cloud storage
While cloud storage may not seem to offer any special benefits compared to regular computer hard drives, there are some notable differences. The most obvious one is that cloud storage frees up your space on your home computer and allows you to access it from anywhere with an Internet connection. This can be very convenient if you use more than one device (such as a work computer and personal laptop). You don’t have to spend time uploading data or files to different devices; everything is consolidated onto one account. Since all of your data is stored in a centralized location, accessing and sharing it with colleagues will be much easier too.
2) Laptops and Cell Phones
Of course, cloud computing can be used to store important documents or save passwords—and that’s one reason many people are still resistant to using it. But perhaps you’ll find even more value in using your cloud storage for photos, music, and videos—that is, content you might actually want to access without a laptop or cell phone nearby. For example, if you’re flying from New York to San Francisco on business but don’t have time to download a bunch of movies on your laptop before boarding (or your connection isn’t fast enough), store them on Apple iCloud instead. By logging into iCloud from an airport Internet cafe when you land, you’ll have access to all of those movies at once (on an iPad or iPhone) whenever you’re feeling homesick for NYC.
3) Google’s suite of apps
Google’s suite of apps—Calendar, Mail, Docs, Sheets, Slides and more—are accessible from any internet-connected device. You can keep your data up to date no matter what device you’re using. And if you get a new phone or a new computer, simply log in with your Google account information to access all your files. That means you don’t have to worry about digging through boxes of old CDs and USB drives looking for documents.
4) Employee Engagement
Companies using cloud-based services see a 16% increase in employee productivity, and an average 12% drop in support costs. Having access to your files from anywhere gives you more flexibility at work, and ensures that you never forget a file or lose it. This makes employees happier about their jobs, because they’re not stressed out about being able to find important documents. The ability to save and share files from any device also boosts team collaboration; if someone has an idea for a project while they’re on vacation, they can start writing up a proposal immediately rather than having to wait until they return to their desk.
5) Business Continuity
If your business relies on cloud computing, you may be thinking that disasters can’t happen to you. Don’t be too sure. Like earthquakes and floods, if it can happen it will happen—and chances are that when disaster strikes your business, it will hit hard and fast. In fact, research shows that companies experience major outages far more often than they realize; 24% of survey respondents experienced two or more major service disruptions in 2011 alone. If a company experiences a major disruption like flooding or a network crash, downtime can cost anywhere from $3 million to as much as $20 million per hour in lost sales.
6) Virtualization Simplifies IT Management
One of cloud computing’s biggest benefits is that it simplifies IT management. Rather than focus on infrastructure, it allows you to simply manage applications in a virtualized environment. Thanks to virtualization technology, IT professionals can deploy more applications and services with fewer resources and less downtime, which saves money and time while increasing productivity. Furthermore, because you don’t have to focus on infrastructure details such as servers, networking equipment and storage devices, cloud computing makes you more flexible when responding to changing business needs.
7) Apps on Demand
The benefits of cloud computing have been touted for years, but it’s only now that we’re starting to see its real power. By hosting your apps on cloud infrastructure and using app streaming, you can access software from anywhere with an internet connection—no matter what device you’re using. You don’t need to go through lengthy installation processes or search for new versions or downloads; instead, you can simply turn to your favorite applications whenever you need them.
8) Backup Software
One of the biggest benefits to cloud computing is backup software. With so many different devices around our houses and offices, it can be easy to lose a file or two. If you’re backing up your files online, there’s no chance that a hard drive failure or some other problem will ever lead to data loss. You can also easily access your files from anywhere with an internet connection, which means you never have to worry about losing important files even if you don’t take your computer with you. That translates into more time saved on a day-to-day basis as well as significantly less stress overall.
9) Centralized Control
A lot of small business owners and entrepreneurs try to avoid using a cloud solution because they feel like it gives another company control over their data. In fact, cloud computing solutions allow you to keep your data in-house but don’t require as much hard drive space or power as you’d need if you were hosting your own cloud. You can also control who has access to what information by setting security rules.
The biggest benefit of cloud computing is scalability. When you have a small business, your IT requirements are minimal. You probably don’t need to purchase hardware upfront and if you do, it will be limited in capacity (for now). This means that there’s really no need for your data or software solutions to be scalable – you only want them to meet your current needs. The challenge here is that as soon as your business grows and becomes more successful, you will quickly realize that your computer setup isn’t sophisticated enough for handling thousands or millions of users at a time. With cloud computing however, you simply rent more processing power whenever you need it and thus always have access to scalable solutions.