Cloud services are a natural fit for small businesses. Moving business operations to the cloud reduces the need for on-site equipment, time-consuming setups and, in some cases, even an IT team. Small businesses are not flocking to the cloud in droves, however, like many reports would lead consumers to believe. Many small business owners are understandably hesitant to move operations to an arena they don’t fully understand.
When you run a startup, cloud services do have the potential to save you both time and money, though, so getting a grasp on what the cloud offers in specific areas can help you make the best decision for your company’s tech needs.
The Cloud for Applications
When it comes to the cloud, many entrepreneurs are most familiar with cloud storage or cloud hosting, but the ability to backup files online or keep a website up and running are only minor components of what cloud companies have to offer. Many program designers have created cloud-based versions of their programs, which means you don’t have to install Quickbooks or Microsoft Office on on-site computers; you can use the programs online. While these programs do require a monthly fee, which might push costs upwards, the major advantage of cloud-based applications is accessibility from anywhere.
The Cloud for Application Development
The use of existing programs is not the only manner in which the cloud aids with applications, though. Companies with specific software needs or entrepreneurs in application development retain the ability to develop their own programs once they move to the cloud. Many vendors provide developers with tools and storage in one, so they can work on the next generation of enterprise applications.
The Cloud for Data Retrieval
As a business owner or entrepreneur, you know the ability to access and sort through data is essential, and cloud database hosting makes it easy to do this from anywhere. Cloud databases are generally stored across datacenters, which ensures information is always available for queries, and have built-in querying systems, making it easy to find the data you want at any time without extensive knowledge. This takes database management largely out of your hands, and makes it easy to respond quickly to customer or investor queries, even from afar.
While it is clear how immediate access to programs and information from anywhere in the world can be beneficial to new business owners, there are other benefits to cloud services that may be less obvious. Online programs, for instance, always provide the most up-to-date features, so you never find yourself with two-year-old software that’s incompatible with newer programs. Hosting applications and data online also provides a means of collaboration without face-to-face interaction, which means, conceivably, you could launch a startup without a physical office space and connect with employees virtually.
Whether saving on upfront equipment or program costs, staffing needs or office space, the right cloud solutions can save you money, while keeping your business operations accessible from anywhere. When launching a business in a competitive marketplace, the ability to take your business with you and reduce early operating costs offers a competitive edge over tethered operations and overspending.