Cloud computing has become the norm for large and small businesses alike. In 2020, the cloud computing segment of IT services generated revenue of more than 300 billing US dollars, with industries like healthcare, finance, and education increasing adoption to meet consumer and employee demands.
While adopting this off-premises model for storing and accessing data and applications may be more commonplace, some small business leaders still struggle to decide if implementing a cloud computing architecture is the right choice. Here are the top eight reasons why moving to the cloud is a smart choice for small businesses.
Both customers and employees demand flexibility from today's businesses. When it comes to attracting and retaining top talent, small companies often have to compete with larger companies that have greater brand recognition. Cloud computing for business creates the flexibility needed for small companies to remain competitive by providing remote work capabilities comparable to larger employers.
Similarly, cloud computing powers many of today’s top consumer, digital-first brands like Netflix, PayPal, and Pinterest, as well as high-performing B2B organizations like SalesForce, Stripe, and Calendly.
Cost Savings and Investment
Businesses that rely on cloud computing flexibility report increased cost savings and decreased total cost of ownership for IT assets and resources. The cloud offers a flexible alternative to investing in purchasing physical servers and software licenses that reside at a physical business location. In fact, global consulting firm KPMG found that organizations that migrate even a portion of their IT infrastructure to the cloud can save anywhere from 10-20 percent of their annual IT budget.
For example, Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) is a cloud-based, pay-as-you-go service model. It replaces traditionally expensive IT essentials such as servers for storage, networking, and virtualization. Much like IaaS, cloud-based Software as a Service (SaaS) also reduces traditional IT costs. Small businesses gain access to software previously reserved for companies with large IT budgets by replacing the old model of making a one-off software purchase with a subscription model. Cloud software companies host and maintain the programs using their servers and resources, while businesses simply pay a fee to access the programs through the internet.
Cloud computing for business has created a viable pathway for small companies to plan for and recover from natural and man-made disasters more efficiently. This can include inclement weather incidents, malicious attacks from Before the cloud, protecting IT assets meant manual back-ups, and purchasing additional servers to store those backups in a remote location. Now, small businesses that move to the cloud have an added layer of protection because of the real-time data backups to the cloud service provider’s servers.
Another reason for small businesses to adopt cloud computing is the increased collaboration efficiency. Without access to documents and other digital assets in a cloud environment, working together in distributed teams is more difficult and is more prone to human errors.
Cloud computing also facilitates real-time brainstorming and other collaborative sessions that foster shared ideas and drive problem-solving and innovation.
Scalability is one of the main drivers of the dramatic adoption of cloud computing for business. Instead of purchasing and configuring on-premises physical servers, third-party cloud providers have all the infrastructure already in place instead of the expensive and time-consuming process. This can be particularly valuable to small businesses who can realize significant capital savings on physical IT equipment ; in the past, when scaling with on-premises physical infrastructure, the process could take weeks or months and require tremendous expense.
A successful remote work environment requires IT solutions that allow multiple individuals to access, review, and edit documents in real-time. Cloud computing for business provides the infrastructure to provide this level of flexibility with the added benefits of strong document control. Through user-specific permissions and file sharing capabilities, storing documents and files on the cloud ensures proper version control. This guards against unauthorized document access and protects against mishaps like overwritten or lost files.
Combining all of the benefits of cloud computing for business creates one overarching reason for small businesses to move to the cloud: increased competitiveness. The increased collaboration, flexibility, and scalability allows organizations to respond to marketplace demands with speed and agility. From an enterprise perspective, businesses using cloud technology report increased efficiency, faster time to market, lower cost of operations, and increased overall profit margins.
Cloud computing empowers businesses of all sizes to deliver global access to information and tools to both employees and customers. And with over six billion smartphones being used globally, businesses that use the cloud increase their reach through mobile access. Anytime, anywhere access also improves business continuity capabilities, making it easier and more efficient to operate in ever-evolving business environments.
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