Cloud computing’s biggest benefit is that it makes enterprise-quality technology affordable for small businesses. It lets them compete at previously unattainable levels. In fact, it’s now possible to completely run your small business in the cloud.
However, not everyone is on board with this idea. With so many differing opinions, how can you possibly decide what to do? Let’s take a look at some of the major areas that is always the topic of debate surrounding Cloud computing.
- Disaster Recovery
Moving your business data to the cloud can make disaster recovery (DR)—i.e., retrieving data in the event of a hardware compromise—easier and less expensive. You can even set up your system to back up data automatically to ensure you’ll be able to recover the most up-to-date information in case of emergency. Not to mention the dramatic reduction in cost and downtime.
- Collaboration and Flexibility
For many businesses, moving to the cloud increases opportunities for collaboration between employees. Colleagues can sync and work on documents or shared apps with ease, often simultaneously, receiving updates in real time. Cloud computing allows each team member to work from anywhere. The cloud centralizes your data, which means that you, your employees, and even your clients can access your company data from any location with Internet access.
- Environmentally Friendly
Cloud computing decreases a business’ carbon footprint by reducing energy consumption and carbon emissions by more than 30 percent. For small companies, the decreased energy usage can reach 90 percent—a huge money saver. It can also help a business project an environmentally sound image.
- Internet Connectivity
Running all or some of your business applications in the cloud is great, as long as you can maintain a consistent Internet connection. So do your homework and only use well known established ISP providers that can provide you with a consistent and stable internet connection. Even the best servers go down occasionally, so if you decide to use this method, it’s important to implement a backup plan.
It boils down to whom do you trust with your business data? Not every business should place its data in the cloud. Companies with highly sensitive data—or that must meet stringent compliance regulations—may well need their own IT department to keep data secure. When you store data in the cloud, you’re trusting a third party to keep it safe. So again do your homework and ask the cloud providers about their security measures they have in place.
Is your small business security savvy enough—with enough resources—to lock down your data? If so, you’re set. If not, the cloud may well offer you more security than you could provide on your own. Should you choose cloud computing or should you set up an in-house network? Both options have their pros and cons.