Most small business owners are looking for ways to better their bottom lines without sacrificing service, support or the stability of their business. Time and money are valuable assets for business owners on budgets and cloud computing can save you both. You’ll also be able to access needed information from nearly anywhere, which is important for small business owners. In fact, 33% of survey respondents in a CSC study cited accessibility to information through multiple devices as the most important reason for their decision to adopt cloud computing. Getting your business going with cloud services may not seem all that easy, but there are a few steps that can help your business easily adopt cloud computing. Here’s how you can get started.
Find Your Approach
If you’re confused about what cloud computing is or how it can benefit your business, here’s a quick definition from Brookings Institution:
Computing can take the form of software-as-a-service (running specific applications through a cloud), platform-as-a-service (using a suite of applications, programming languages, and user tools), or infrastructure-as-a-service (relying on remote data storage networks).
Finding your approach to adopting cloud service is where your business needs to start. You’ll need to determine whether you want to integrate all aspects of your business or select items. One of the easiest, and most cost-effective, systems to move to the cloud is your time tracking system. You’ll want to create a map that identifies where gaps in services or connections could take place and whether or not that will hinder your business’s performance. You’ll also want to consider the costs and the benefits. To do that, you need to do some research.
Research Your Options
Before you move your business to the cloud, consider and research what your options are. Due to budget or other resources, you may not be able to move all aspects of your business operations to cloud-based systems, but it is important to determine what movements will benefit your business most. Using the definition above, here are a few things to keep in mind as you research your options:
- Is the initial investment worth the long-term savings we can achieve? Calculate the costs of a cloud approach and of your traditional approach over a three-year period and compare. Keep in mind scalability.
- What are the security risks we become susceptible to in moving a particular service to the cloud and what backup or prevention policies are in place? Every cloud service has risks – make sure you’re aware of what they are and what plans are used in the event your business is impacted.
- How many people from within my company can access the necessary information with each business account? You’ll want the right people to have access to the cloud services and be able to use the product or service properly. Take a look at whether or not training is needed.
- How is our account managed? Vendors are often online, but you need to be able to connect with them for help or when you have a question without a hassle.
- What happens if we cancel our account? Is there a fee or will we be locked-in until the end of our initial contract? Some vendors will try to lock you in – make sure you have an “out clause” or can trial the service/product before signing on to a longer contract.
By conducting a little research, your business can adopt cloud computing across multiple processes or just for a select few. Cloud computing provides your small business the opportunity to compete with large companies without the costs and without cutting service quality. If your business is considering moving different aspects of its operations to the cloud, determine what those aspects are and whether the costs are worth the benefits.
Author Bio: Erica Bell is a copywriter for Business.com, a resource site for small and medium-sized businesses. She focuses on small business technology, covering a range of topics including IT services and VoIP phone systems. Find Business.com on Facebook!