Setting up a professional, secure IT solution for small business used to mean paying big bucks for a Windows server while only using 10 per cent of its capacity. It was expensive and wasteful.
All of which goes a long way to explain why Cloud solutions are a perfect solution for small business; secure backup scalable to the content secured.
Unsurprisingly, the Cloud has flattened the information management landscape. Dropbox, Box, Google Drive, iCloud and the new Mega are among the many solutions for small business with more options surfacing almost weekly. According to a 2012 report by International Data Corp, small business in the U.S. ponied up $2.2 billion for cloud solutions in 2010, $3.5 billion in 2011 with exponential growth forecast going forward.
So why use the Cloud instead of the multiple onsite servers and software solutions your IT consultant set you up with ten years ago? We’ve come up with five reasons.
1. Your Data Is Safe. Really.
Backing up data is immediate in the Cloud. You input it on your computer and it is backed up keystroke by keystroke.
Data security and stability is what makes most users weak in the knees. It’s a valid concern in theory except it rarely happens, and only temporarily when it does.
Look at it this way. The security of your data is directly linked to the reputation of the company handling it. A major loss of client data could mean the end of a company and that reality ensures that it’s stored safely.
Oddly enough the biggest threat to your data is internal: the employee who uses 1234ABCD as their access password.
2. Working Remotely
Not in the office due to a conference, parental emergency, bad weather or the 24-hr flu? That used to mean a day lost, badgering colleagues to email documents to you, and any number of clumsy workarounds. Now, its as easy as flipping open the laptop and logging into your system.
3. Sharing Files
I used to work in an office where company files were defacto proprietary, and getting them from one colleague or another meant bulky attachments and such. With a central database of shared documents in the Cloud, a quick link to a secured Cloud file can be had with a few clicks. It also means chasing down files within an organization is over. One database, accessible to everyone in the company.
4. File Storage
Similar to the above noted sharing scenario, having a central database of pics and images to use means most staff can eliminate having triple digit gigs of pics and pdfs on their workstation. Conceptually, its a throwback to the original mainframe computing models of the 80s, one database with many user interfaces. No need for multigig computers.
5. Cloud Crawl
Just as a company’s growth used to result in bigger and bigger servers with multiple backups, the same is true of the Cloud, save for one crucial distinction. It’s cheaper. And the growth is not exponential but incremental and as such much less expensive to do. Instead of doubling capacity based on the server sizes, you can add on storage space very precisely. You only need another 50 gigs of space, you only pay for the 50. No need to bring in an IT consultant to install the upgrade. As well, any upgrades to the Cloud software is done externally and at no cost to the user.
So if you’re a small business and struggling with that Windows Exchange Server you got in 2003, keep this in mind: not only are cloud solutions reliable but even Windows got the memo. Windows Exchange Server is transitioning to a primarily Cloud solution.