Cloud Computing: What is it & What the Heck Can It Do For My Business?
There’s this hilarious video on You Tube that films the reactions of children exposed to the “old fashioned” computers of yesteryear (and by “old fashioned” we mean they’re not laptops and they don’t have a mouse). The expression of confusion on the kids’ faces is priceless. The question the majority of them ask is a common one, “What is it?”
Occasionally, we encounter people who experience the same confusion when presented with the term “Cloud-Based Point of Sale.” So, we thought we’d create an article on cloud computing for beginners and novices.
As you know, it used to be that applications or programs were operated from software downloaded on a physical computer or server. When the cloud came along, the same types of applications could be accessed and utilized through the internet. Recode.net explains the cloud this way:
“The “cloud” refers to software and services run on the Internet instead of locally on your computer.”
You might be surprised to know that you’re using the cloud every day, whether you’re creating a document in Google Drive, capturing your thoughts on Evernote, or updating your Facebook status.
Cloud computing is becoming the norm for businesses because it offers so many benefits. Let’s look at some of them and see how they can help your business too:
Enjoy Greater Flexibility
If your business has changing bandwidth needs, you’ll appreciate how easy it is to increase or scale down your cloud capacity. Additionally, any device with an Internet connection will allow you to access your information, so you can work on the same documents from home, work, or abroad.
Because remote servers handle most of the storage and computing, it’s generally not necessary to own pricey, high-end equipment to accomplish your work. In fact, you can now buy cloud-based computers, such as Google Chromebooks, which provide low-cost options over standard software-based computers.
With cloud services, you can also offer employees more flexible working conditions, allowing them to create the work-life balance that suits their needs. This could potentially save your business money on overhead and salary expenses as many employees, one study found, would be willing to take as much as a 6% pay cut for the opportunity to telecommute (Source: Salesforce).
Ditch the Hassle of Onsite Servers
What company doesn’t want to save money, especially when it comes to the high cost and inconvenience of frequent hardware or software updates?
With cloud-based services, the suppliers take care of the off-premise servers for you, as well as providing you with regular software and security updates. You simply pay for a convenient as-you-go-subscription fee that doesn’t crush your budget.
And those laptops your employees keep losing? Not a problem. Since your data is stored in the cloud, you can access it no matter what happens to your business machines. Did you know you can even wipe data from lost laptops remotely to keep sensitive data from falling into the wrong hands?
Cloud setup and management has never been easier. And since you don’t have to spend your time maintaining the system, you can focus on other areas that will help grow your business.
Increase Document Control & Collaboration
Prior to the cloud, workers exchanged files via email attachments. The problem was, those files could only be edited one user at a time. As you can imagine, confusion was a common reaction to the heap of content labeled with different titles and formats.
But with cloud computing, all files are stored centrally so everyone sees only one version of the same document. This means updates are made in real time, with full visibility of other workers’ changes. Collaborating in this manner improves workflow and efficiency, especially if you work with associates in different countries and time zones.
Show the Environment a Little Love
In addition to providing your business with greater work efficiency and less hassle, the cloud is environmentally friendly. Because server capacity scales up and down according to your fluctuating cloud needs, you’ll only use the energy you require, thereby reducing unnecessary carbon footprints. So, if one of your company’s goals is to support sustainable solutions, you can make a significant environmental impact with cloud computing.
Invest in Your Future by Moving to the Cloud
Now that you have a better idea of what cloud computing is, as well as some of the benefits associated with integrated cloud-based software, consider the following quotes from Business 2 Community:
“As one of the most efficient methods of managing all aspects of business, integrated cloud software is cost effective, accessible and delivers real-time, measurable solutions to everyday problems.”
Source: Business 2 Community
“…In a global economy, competition is rife. Customers have the option to take their business elsewhere as soon as they feel dissatisfied. Integrated cloud software allows for a seamless monitoring of customer orders, stock levels, and delivery status; while gathering and managing customer data.”
Source: Business 2 Community
If you’re looking to improve flexibility, workflow efficiency, and company-wide collaboration, while being environmentally conscious in the process, it may be time to ride the wave of the future and invest in integrated cloud software that will help you edge out the competition, ensure business growth, and increase customer engagement.