This article is an extract from a lesson within our digital training program, Australian Small Business Advisory Services Digital Solutions, which is structured to assist small businesses get access to low-cost and high quality digital training & advice. The program provides training via workshops, 1:1 mentoring, online lessons and webinars. Small businesses with an ABN are eligble to join here.
Cloud computing offers many advantages regardless of business type or offering, from product-based businesses to service providers and information providers.
The benefits range from reducing cost and carbon footprint, to more obvious advantages like making information sharing and accessibility to technology easier and more efficient.
In this article, we’ve detailed 10 ways cloud computing can help your business.
1. Makes information sharing easy
One of the most obvious benefits of switching to software that’s in the cloud – often called cloud computing – is that information sharing is so much easier. Rather than having to download files and email them or share them using portable storage devices, information can simply be accessed via cloud storage servers or directly within cloud-based software programs.
2. Improves efficiency
Making information sharing easy means less time spent emailing and meeting to discuss updates on documents and projects – and more time just doing the work. With cloud storage and cloud software powering or facilitating your business workflows, systems, and processes, staff can work more efficiently.
3. Connectivity with clients and employees
Cloud software means that employees and clients can be connected, and not just via email. For example, cloud project management tools can help assign tasks to individuals and track progress without having so many meetings or sending so many emails. Or, cloud accounting software can help accountants, finance staff, and managers get the latest financial information on the company from any device.
4. Integrations with other platforms
Another great benefit of cloud software is that so many different cloud-based programs offer integrations with other cloud-based programs. For example, this means your staff time-sheet tracking can be directly connected to project management tools, or online customer service software can send website bugs directly to IT who then, using tracking software, create a task to be prioritised in the developers’ queue.
5. Aids remote teams
Business can be done in different locations with cloud computing. There’s no need to be present constantly—any one of your team can be on the road or in the air completing their tasks. Cloud accounting makes files and programs available on any device in any location, which means teams in different locations can all be on the same page – figuratively and literally.
6. Access on-the-go
Cloud computing makes software and files available on multiple devices, which means staff and clients can access information on-the-go. Since more business is carried out on mobile devices, this is incredibly valuable, whether its accessing emails and files on multiple devices or accessing the latest status update for a project in any location.
7. Data security
Unlike physical files which can easily be lost or misplaced, files and programs in the cloud are secure and access can be controlled by administrators. This means you can control who has access to what information and revoke access at the click of a button. You won’t have to worry about being responsible for the security of information either, as cloud storage services take care of all of the privacy and security aspects of the storage servers – protecting you from hacking.
Files and programs that are stored on a hard drive are only available to people with access to that drive and back-ups need to be managed manually. With different people responsible for file management and back-ups, it can easily become a mess – with versions mixed up and files accidentally deleted. Cloud storage takes care of all of this, with version control for files and regular automated back-ups.
9. Digital footprint
Any activity carried out via cloud storage or cloud software programs leaves a digital footprint or electronic paper trail. This can be helpful for a number of reasons – from simply finding a file to more complex activities like audits and forensic accounting.
10. Reduces cost
Free from capital expenditure, cloud technology for IT needs and file storage can be less expensive than purchasing and maintaining physical servers and IT programs – plus, utilising the technology from cloud service providers means your energy consumption will also be reduced.