Tech & Tools

How Cloud Technology Can Help Your Business

By Rieva Lesonsky

By now cloud technology is a given, and every Tom, Dick and Harry Inc. is most likely using cloud storage for their businesses in some way. From extra storage for your phone apps to storing files for easy accessibility from anywhere, the cloud is a small business’s best friend. In fact, a research study from Intuit and Emergent Research reveals 78 percent of small businesses (companies with fewer than 50 employees) will be fully adapted to the cloud by 2020—up from 37 percent in 2014.

While today’s small businesses report using cloud-based applications chiefly for email, online banking and social media, the cloud can help your business be productive and grow in ways you may not have thought of, such as:

Simplifying operating processes: Cloud automation tools are making it easier to administrate and organize such tasks as accounting, payroll, inventory management, benefits administration and more. Cloud applications don’t take up hefty amounts of storage because there’s no need for downloading software. Other advantages of the cloud are being able to access your tools on any device, and the increased ability to collaborate with your employees, support team or accountant.

Saving money: Using the cloud to store files and data saves businesses of all sizes a substantial amount of money compared to physical storage. Not having to buy and download expensive software programs and the computer capacity to store them can also help your bottom line. Having your financial information stored in the cloud helps you keep control of your expenses and receivables and let’s you know how your business is faring at any given point.

Scalability: Because costs are scalable depending on your needs, your business doesn’t have to pay for a lot of large enterprise tools you won’t be able to take advantage of right away. As you grow and your processes and needs become more sophisticated, you can easily upgrade to a level where more tools are available to keep efficiency at a maximum. Amazon Web Services just announced more services and tools to help companies analyze their data, as well as allow them to ship large amounts of data for storage on the cloud.

The competitive advantage. According to a NetSuite study, 81 percent of U.S. businesses cite cloud computing as a competitive advantage over their rivals. Cloud applications can give you a competitive edge when entering new markets and help you react more quickly and effectively to change.

Better security. Quite honestly, your small business security measures are no match for the amount of security a cloud company can ensure for your critical data. Plus, with the advantage of automatic backup, updates of applications and the latest bug fixes, you likely to be more protected from the increase in hacking that seems to be becoming a regular news story.

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