Is the Future of Your Business with Clould Computing?

By Joan Lavoie posted 08-17-2013 02:00

  

By that, I mean a future in cloud computing. Studies reveal it is gaining traction in among leaders in the small to medium size business community. In a recent survey, 435 of those respondents that had transitioned some or all of their computing needs to the cloud, reported measurable improvements in one or more aspects of their business as a result of using this technology. Advantages were most pronounced in the areas of flexibility, productivity and reduced costs.

What Is Cloud Computing?

Cloud computing means that information that would otherwise reside on an employee’s workstation is instead, delivered via the Internet to the company providing cloud computing service. This is known in the industry as software as a service (SaaS) is the usual acronym and there other services under the cloud umbrella, such as, infrastructure as a service (IaaS) and platform as a service (PaaS).

What Is It?

Basically, it means that information residing on workstations is delivered to the cloud computing company via the Internet.

Why Do I Need It?

That is an excellent question, and one that I am attempting to answer for myself too. I am in the accounts receivable finance (A/R Financing) industryand, as you can imagine, that is a numbers intensive field requiring significant computing power. Let me share what I have learned to be the greatest advantages of cloud computing.

Convenience

Accessibility is one of the attributes inherent in cloud computing that I can truly appreciate as a business owner. If you are in the cloud, all your information is securely stored in an offsite location. As a result, it becomes accessible to any device that is capable of connecting to the Internet, including smart phones, tablets and maybe even your Nook.

Only you can authorize access, of course, and in contrast to desktop packages, you have the ability to authorize as many users as you choose at no additional expense.

This means that you and your employees can be productive from almost anywhere at any time of the day or night. The possibilities are mind-boggling. Multiple people can view the same document and even work on the same document concurrently. By using Skype, virtual meetings and honest to goodness teamwork can take place and you are not even the same room with the team. You may be in another state or even another country.

Remote Teams

I was struck by the prospect of having the ability through the cloud to have a workforce unrestricted by international or any other boundaries. Almost overnight a business can have a global pool of potential talent at its fingertips, unrestricted by timeframes, geography or schedules. I know there are conflicting views on the effectiveness of remote workers and the debate is far from settled, but you can’t discount the possibilities.

Cost

Cloud computingcertainly appears to be cost effective. The business pays for software via subscription fees and circumvents the need to buy licenses for each piece of software for each employee workstation. Upgrades—those are free and your IT department won’t be burdened with installing them because your provider does that for you from their end. Depending on how much of your IT structure you surrender to the cloud you can avoid some costly hardware investment as well.

What really appeals to me is that small businesses that are often not in a place financially to acquire the latest software or state-of-the-art infrastructure now have these things within their financial grasp. This can be a huge advantage for small to medium sized businesses that are in head-to-head competition with large, well-heeled corporate rivals.

Security

Security is a major concern for any business owner. After all, the ease of information access is a selling point for cloud computing, so is it really possible to have my cake and eat it too? The short answer is yes. Remember, you have to authorize that easy access.

Cloud providers long ago recognized that for their service to be of real worth to clients, security concerns needed to be thoroughly and convincingly addressed. Cloud providers have made a substantial investment in security experts and ensure their services employ the most up-to-date security technology and protocols on the planet.

Another benefit is that if your equipment is destroyed or damaged, your data is residing safely in the cloud which reminds me; any of you out there suffering under the burdensome legislation that is Sarbanes-Oxley will realize additional benefits as related to disaster planning.

Improved Performance

A restored ability to focus on your business’ core competencies is perhaps the most significant benefit gained from cloud computing.

You will no longer have to rely on an IT because you will have access to industry-specific professionals through your provider in the event of problems

Your work will be accomplished in real time. No waiting for financial report to be processed and distributed.

As a result of being intimately and constantly connected with your business, it is easier to establish and attain defined goals.

Your services are easily renegotiated with your provider, so as your needs change and your business grows you will have no barriers. This is particularly attractive to startups.

I hope this quick overview has been helpful and provided you at least a jumping-off point to continue your own investigation into the subject of cloud computing.



#computing #clould
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