Small Business Tools
5 Reasons Businesses
Are Moving to the Cloud
Is starting your small business already giving you a headache?
Moving some of your basic services to the cloud can help.
Anyone who's ever started a business knows how complicated and stressful it is in the beginning. You're constantly juggling all the issues that go along with starting a company from scratch. So, of course, entrepreneurs are going to look for ways to make those initial steps easier for them and their business.
That's why more and more small businesses are turning to the cloud. What is the cloud? The cloud is basically a way of saying that these services are operated and stored exclusively on the Internet. There is no software to download or hardware to buy. That's why so many services that businesses require are now being served in the cloud, including web hosting, phone, fax and even storage. And outsourcing these services to the cloud can be a load off any start-up's mind, which is why around 46% of new small businesses are now using cloud services, according to a "State of SMB" survey done by SpiceWorks. Here's a look at 5 reasons small businesses are moving to the cloud:
Reason #1: Simple Set Up
No need to spend countless hours trying to learn HTML to set up your website or figuring out which wires connect to your fax machine. Most of the heavy lifting is done by the cloud services. No fax machine to connect. No waiting for the phone company to show up for installation. No trip to the store to buy an external hard drive. Even most web hosting services offer an easy-to-navigate site builder and ecommerce plug-ins to make creating your business’ online presence simple.
Best Example, Internet Fax: A traditional fax machine is a pain to set up, between all the wires and the buttons and the software. Internet fax is as easy to set up as a common email client, and just as easy to use.
Reason #2: Easily Accessible
Cloud services have become so successful that more and more are popping up, allowing you to choose among a variety of services. In fact, according to the SpiceWorks survey, the number of small businesses adopting cloud services is doubling every six months. It means that these services are competing for your business, which, in turn, means competitive pricing, constant feature improvements and superior customer service.
It also means they are easier to find. Google "Internet Fax" and not only do you get a list of several cloud fax services, but also sites that compare those services for you, including NextAdvisor. This makes finding the right cloud service for your business even easier.
Best Example, Web Hosting: Our site alone reviews 17 different web hosting services, and that's just scratching the surface. You can also choose your services based on the features you want. Yahoo Small Business caters to beginners, while FatCow boasts green web hosting that is planet friendly.
Reason #3: More Compact
In fact, cloud services take up no space at all. No need for clunky servers or backup disks stuffed into your already small office space. That's what cloud storage and online backup are for. You don't need a fax machine if you use Internet fax. And there is no need for a fancy conference room if you are using an online meeting service. Ultimately, you can save on renting or buying office space if you take your business to the cloud.
Best Example, Online Meeting: Meetings in conference rooms are going the way of pay phones and slide projectors. Why pay for the extra space when you can host meetings online? Not only does it save time and money, it also makes telecommuting that much easier for those dialing in from far off places.
Reason #4: Less Responsibility
The best perk with cloud services is peace of mind. You pay these services to keep track of your stuff. You don't have to worry about your servers breaking down; that's your cloud storage services' issue. And most online backup, cloud storage and Internet fax services provide encryption and other security features, so you know that your business' information is safe.
Doing business in the cloud is akin to renting a place instead of buying. These services are your landlord, and when something breaks, it's their responsibility to fix it, not yours. It lets you focus on running and growing your business instead of sweating the small stuff.
Best Example, Online Backup: You have enough to worry about when starting a business; backing up your files shouldn't be one of those worries. Online backup does the work for you, without those clunky backup disks lying around. Most services update your files automatically when any changes are made and offer encryption so you know your information is safe.
Reason #5: It's Cheaper
With most cloud services, there is no hardware to buy and no installation to pay for. There are no extra costs for repairs, as there would be with fax machines and servers. And in many cases, such as VoIP, the service is actually cheaper than if you were to buy the traditional service. Not to mention the additional bonus of not needing extra office space, which can save your business big money. If done correctly, starting your business in the cloud could save you thousands of dollars in start-up costs.
Best Example, Business VoIP: It's only logical that VoIP is cheaper than traditional phone lines. It takes advantage of something your business already needs: Internet. There is no need for installation of any wires or jacks, and never any need for in-person customer service.
There are, of course, some downsides to hosting your business in the cloud. You have less control. You are at the mercy of the cloud services and their changes in price, service, etc. But for the cost of keeping your sanity while starting your business, they are a pretty good alternative to the traditional services.
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