Common as it may be, the cloud tends to be a gray area for many business owners. Cloud computing is defined as the practice of using a network of remote servers, accessible via the Internet, to store, manage and process data, rather than a local server or a personal computer. So basically, the majority of businesses use the cloud, whether or not they know what it is. For a more detailed and visual definition of the cloud, this infographic helps explain the concept of the cloud and its primary benefits.
Identifying the Advantages of Cloud Computing
Collaboration in the cloud allows employees to work together on documents and other data types, which are stored off-site and outside of the company firewall. Cloud collaboration simplifies sharing, editing and working together on projects.
But how do you know if the benefits of cloud computing will apply to your business? The good news is that it can be a benefit for companies of all sizes. It depends much more on your computing needs, the applications you use and the habits of your workforce than it does on the size of your organization.
While there are numerous ways businesses stand to benefit from their cloud computing environment — from financial to productivity and everything in-between — it's sometimes tough to pull them out of thin air and name them. That's why I've outlined three scenarios demonstrating how cloud computing can give today's businesses an edge.
Basically, if your business can relate to one of these scenarios, it's a good idea to consider cloud computing as a solution.
#1: Your Business Has Multiple Locations, Or Employees Work Remotely
If your business has multiple locations, you've probably dealt with frustrations related to teams trying to connect and collaborate on the same project from a distance. The same issues can occur if you have employees who work remotely (or would like to). Cloud collaboration tools allow employees to access the same project documents — in real time — even though they may be miles apart.
Access to real-time project documents saves time and money. Here are a few reasons why:
- It eliminates the effort of updating documents remotely and sending them via email to other project members.
- It reduces the chance that an employee is updating or referencing the wrong file. It's easier for your employees to keep track of what's going on, and they can do it more quickly than before.
- It allows more employees to work remotely. According to Global Workplace Analytics, employees who work remotely are actually more productive than those at the office. How much more? Best Buy, British Telecom, Dow Chemical and many others report that teleworkers are 35-40% more productive. Telecommuting could also potentially reduce your company’s travel budget.
#2: You Have Frequent IT Trouble
No matter how well any computer system or IT infrastructure is maintained, you will eventually face problems. Dealing with these issues — especially if you are a small business — can take up valuable hours, that can easily turn into days that could be better spent. But with cloud based collaboration tools, you have limited on-site equipment to maintain, or a trusted partner that can focus on maintenance and/or issue resolution. IT trouble interrupts productivity, taking your employees away from their primary jobs and their focus on the future needs of the business.
#3: Your Company Is Growing But You Don’t Have A Way To Scale Your Infrastructure
If you know that your company is going to hire more employees, but you're not sure when and how large you’ll grow, the cloud is a great solution. With conventional internal infrastructure, you need to purchase equipment as your company grows, and potentially hire more people to maintain it. But with cloud collaboration, no matter how much or how quickly you grow, you'll be able to access the cloud solution that best meets your needs — all it takes is a simple call to your cloud provider. The cloud’s scalability helps you more easily manage peaks and valleys in your demand, ensuring you only pay for what you need.
When you invest in cloud computing for your company, you'll experience benefits in the form of time savings and increased productivity.