Large companies have typically been the first to benefit from advanced technologies and the power that the technologies offer. For example, providing network email services for 100 accounts typically costs just as much as providing the same services for 10 accounts. The trouble is that a company with 10 employees is less able to afford the cost. This has typically meant that many small businesses were forced to forgo the advantages of Information Technology, simply because of the cost. Cloud computing offers the opportunity to not only cut IT (Information Technology) costs, but to also develop advanced IT services.
How Do Small Businesses Benefit?
The first and most prevalent example is in various messaging services. In the past, small businesses had to choose between a secure and controlled internal email server with extremely high costs and a less secure Internet mail service with no control over the security services. Cloud computing allows small businesses to have the best of both worlds. Email server software is costly to buy, install, and support. In the cloud computing environment, companies only pay for the specific services that they need and only as much as they use. It is even possible to contract for a server and only pay for the exact time and bandwidth that the server uses.
Productivity software is also a significant opportunity in which small businesses can benefit from in using cloud computing. The software can include anything from accounting to word processing to document management. With cloud computing technologies in use, small companies can have 24 hour a day, seven day a week access to documents, customer information, and critical financial data without the expensive servers and bandwidth that limited them in the past. This can allow the business’ sales team to operate from the field without sacrificing access to these essential services. With the processing power needed to provide these services now “in the Cloud,” a company will only pay for the processing power used and not the whole server and all of the costs associated.
Cloud Computing’s Main Advantage
The biggest advantage in small businesses using cloud computing is its security. Initially, most small companies had concerns about the security and availability of their critical information while being housed on the Internet and its remote cloud computing servers. Large computing providers have a greater security and reliability than the small companies that they serve and results in an improvement of the information services overall. Back up services in the cloud computing system are a perfect example, if a business’ “mission-critical” data is secured at an advanced server farm, then it is even more secure that if the business transferred the information to a protected on a tape in your IT office.
The reason that cloud computing is so popular is that Enterprise level companies have adopted it in great numbers. While these companies can afford the cost of in-house computing systems, the company owners see the power and cost savings of cloud computing, which has resulted in a great number of new cloud-based services coming onto the market. The best way for a small business to use cloud computing is to begin looking at what it offers and planning for a transition as soon as possible, before the business’ competitor does.
James A. Martin, “Should You Move your Small Business to the Cloud?” PC World