While some small business owners in the Lake Okeechobee community embrace cloud solutions, others aren’t so convinced.
They like keeping all their data on their own hard drives and aren’t sure whether to trust cloud vendors with their vital business processes and company files.
But rather than being something that’s “bad,” the cloud has actually helped small businesses transform and grow faster by offering them multiple benefits, including a significant cost savings over using all on-premises solutions.
It’s estimated that 80% of small businesses will have moved to the cloud by 2020.
Cloud computing hosts business applications and data on virtual servers, allowing that data to be accessed from any internet-connected device. Most cloud apps also offer multiple ways to connect, including using a browser, desktop application or mobile app.
You can also use services like VoIP phones from handsets that look just like any other type of telephone handset, but get the flexibility to answer your calls via mobile or computer too.
One common concern of business owners is how to connect to their data and programs if they don’t have an internet connection. Many cloud providers have addressed this by offering what are called “hybrid-cloud” platforms, that give you both online and offline use capabilities.
A perfect example of a hybrid-cloud solution is Office 365. You still can download the applications (Word, PowerPoint, Excel) on your computer and use them offline, but you can also use an online version. When your computer is connected to the internet, your hard drive-based files are synced automatically to a cloud storage so you can access them easily from a different device if needed.
Read on to learn how your company can improve your bottom line by embracing cloud technologies.
How the Cloud Benefits Your Small Business
Cost savings is the top reason cited over and over again by businesses, both large and small, as to why they moved to cloud technology. Cost savings really comes from a number of areas beyond just the initial cost of acquisition of a software, some of these include:
- Better worker productivity
- Mobile computing flexibility
- Business continuity (reduced downtime)
- Automation features
Here are some of the key bottom-line advantages of using cloud services at your small business.
Low Acquisition Cost
Ultimately cloud solutions save companies money, even though a business owner might initially question the monthly subscription model.
While, you do have to continue paying to keep using a cloud service, paying a small monthly subscription per user per month, often comes out costing less than a one-time purchase of a specific software for each user for a few reasons.
The initial upfront cost is significantly less. We’ll take a look at Microsoft Office as an example (Note: Office 365 gives you many additional apps, like OneDrive, Teams, etc. that the non-cloud version doesn’t.):
- (Cloud) Office 365 Business starts at $8.25/user/month: $99.00 in year 1
- (Non-Cloud) Office 2019 Professional is $439.99/user: $439.99 in year 1
- (Cloud) Office 365 Business: $396.00/user in year 4
- (Non-Cloud) Office 2019 Professional: $439.99/user in year 4
So, it’s not until year 5, in this case, that the non-cloud software is actually costing less. By that time, most businesses are upgrading to the new version to get more features, meaning another purchase. With a cloud subscription, you always have the most updated version.
Flexibility to Access Data from Anywhere
When you remove the cumbersome nature of data or software that is tied to one specific computer, productivity increases. Workers have the ability to easily work and collaborate on a document at home or while traveling, without having to use workarounds to get files back and forth.
64% of surveyed companies said the flexibility of cloud solutions helped their teams execute tasks faster, and with better results.
Using cloud technology also allows companies to take advantage of remote workers, which is a growing trend due to the cost savings and ability to hire the best talent from anywhere.
Protect Company from Downtime
One of the costliest issues that a small business can face is downtime. It can result from a natural disaster that damages their office or a malware attack that takes down their network for an extended period of time.
A cloud infrastructure that securely stores your data and work processes virtually, allows you to continue operations from an alternate location should you suffer a catastrophe at your office.
For example, with systems like VoIP phones, just because the power is out at your office due to a storm, doesn’t mean you miss all those potential incoming sales calls. Instead, you can simply answer your lines from a computer located elsewhere or using your mobile phone.
There are certain repetitive manual tasks that offices do weekly. These can be something like entering data from one program, like a sales CRM, into another, like an accounting application.
When you’re using cloud solutions, you have the ability to share data and automate processes across those various solutions, saving you time and money. These can be things like automatically feeding shopping cart orders into an accounting program or having your sales team receive a text message automatically when a “hot lead” comes into your CRM program.
Static programs that are siloed on individual computers, just don’t have this same type of connection and automation capability.
How Can Cloud Solutions Help Your Business This Year?
Are you wondering where you can best utilize cloud solutions at your company? Cris’s Tech Repair gurus can take a look at your current processes and help you with a smooth and effective cloud upgrade.
Contact us today for a free technology consultation. Call 561-985-4961 or contact us online.