The term “cloud” is simply a metaphor for the Internet. All your small business needs to access cloud computing is a browser and Internet access. At the foundation of cloud computing are online infrastructures that deliver services through shared data centers. Cloud computing gives your business a single point of access for your computing needs. Even the United States Government is considering the cloud as part of its IT infrastructure to reduce spending.
Cloud Computing Saves Money for a Small business
Without a doubt, cloud computing can save your business money. Cloud computing sets your business free from all the expenses of operating an IT department. The costs you pay for the bank of servers, the backup issues, software purchases, human resources, training, implementation and upgrades, and protecting valuable data can be a thing of the past. Your business invests substantial capital in information technology, just to stay competitive. Cloud computing changes all that. Here are the features of cloud computing with its advantages, disadvantages, and examples for small business.
How Cloud Computing Works for Small Business
Today your business data sits on your servers down the hall. With cloud computing, you do away with the on-site technology. You avoid hardware costs and software costs, staffing and training, and you reduce overhead. With the cloud, what you get instead is computing power on demand, a wide array of applications, communications, data backup and recovery and state-of-the-art security. Plus, cloud computing offers you immediate scalability for peak business times. Cloud computing frees up capital for your business. With cloud computing, information technology is a utility, like electricity and telephone service, available when you need it and as much as you need. Your business is unique, and cloud computing offers customized options to put you ahead of the pack. Cloud computing is all about saving money for your business.
10 Benefits of Cloud Computing for a Small Business
- On the cloud, your information technology is independent of your location.
- You don’t have to install a software package on each user’s computer. The tools you need are sitting on the web, and available for use 24/7. Entire business applications have been coded for the web in languages like AJAX.
- You pay for only what you need when you need it.
- Your business uses shared resources from a central source,
- The capacity for peak loads when you need it (elasticity)
- No expenses for under-utilized capacity,
- Improved reliability with redundant sites
- Improved state-of-the-art security
- Cloud computing is eco-friendly, “green” computing. Data centers can be located in areas of natural cooling and renewable electricity.
- Resources are used more efficiently in a shared cloud environment.
5 Drawbacks to Cloud Computing for Small Business
- Cloud computing still depends on a physical data center somewhere else.
- It poses basic privacy concerns because the service provider can also access your data on the cloud. They could accidentally affect the integrity of the data.
- Government agencies will have easy direct access to data that is stored in the cloud.
- Your cloud providers could close up for financial or legal reasons, or fail to provide the level of service required.
- Your business depends on the security of cloud services. In 2009, a banking trojan illegally used the popular Amazon cloud computing service to infect PC’s with malware.
Examples of Cloud Computing for Your Small Business
Here are useful examples of cloud computing for your small business. Does your business use email services on the cloud? Perhaps your email provider is GoogleMail, Yahoo Mail or Microsoft Hotmail. Does your business store files on the Internet: files containing videos, photos, music or documents on services like Microsoft’s SkyDrive or Apple iCloud? These are all instances of cloud computing for business. Google Docs is a popular suite of office software, with word processing and spreadsheet applications, that is accessed on the cloud. The ultimate business service is a virtual cloud computing environment running custom applications. Do you use Amazon Web Service, AWS, to deploy your data? Any one of these examples of cloud computing would very likely save your business money.