There is considerable and growing hype regarding cloud computing and its potential benefits to businesses of all sizes. The premise behind cloud computing may sound very ‘airy-fairy’ but it’s actually a very useful, practical concept that can improve efficiencies and increase security regarding sensitive business data.
A common misconception is that your data is floating around in the air waiting to be seen. However, cloud computing is simply the process of storing your data on a third-party server as opposed to the hard drive of your own laptop or desktop computer.
Although this may sound scary to some new business owners you may have inadvertently used a cloud without even knowing it. If you have a Google Mail account for example, it is possible you will have used Google Drive (formerly Google Docs), its very own form of cloud computing providing common business applications online that can be easily accessed via a normal web browser. All of this data is stored on Google’s servers – never your own.
Working ‘in the cloud’ offers more flexibility and may therefore be attractive to new business start-ups that find themselves not only working on the move but working in a shared space with other like-minded entrepreneurs.
As it is web-based and delivered as a service in its own right, start-ups can use it from day one without the need for going through an IT department.
As a start-up you are also unlikely to have vast pots of cash to spare on an expensive setup. Many cloud services are available on a pay-on-demand model and therefore require no upfront investment. Not only is it financially realistic for new business owners to consider using the cloud for storing sensitive data, it is very quick to set up, with no real delay in using the service from the moment you sign on the dotted line.
The infinite possibilities of cloud computing also make it a very scalable asset to any new business. SMEs can broaden the range of cloud services they wish to use over time and increase their usage as their workforce and bandwidth grows.
It is similar to that of document management which is another system that seeks to provide a digital solution to reducing the amount of paper in the office. Document management software can be extended to cover everything from accounts payable and claims processing through to Government legislation and health and safety policies.
Cloud computing can range from secure data storage and webmail through to accounting and CRM.
All you need is a computer and an internet connection with the sufficient bandwidth to sustain fully maximise your cloud and you can control everything your business needs remotely anywhere in the world. It’s no longer the future, it’s already the present.
Taking your business start-up to the clouds was sponsored by First Choice Business Systems, leading experts in the document management industry over the last 20 years. The Kent-based business is an authorised Xerox Concessionaire, supplying a host of top quality print solutions for office and print production.