Professionals today are constantly bombarded with information about the cloud. It seems every other business is utilizing cloud-based software, leaving those still using on-premise solutions wondering if they, too, should switch. Businesses are flocking to cloud solutions because there are many more benefits than there are with on-premise solutions. Here are eight of the most often mentioned reasons cloud solutions are better.
Cloud solutions providers generally charge a small monthly fee for access. This rate may be paid annually or monthly and can either be a per-user cost or a cost that includes a set range of accounts. In exchange for this fee, you’ll be able to set up accounts until you reach the maximum, managing password resets and account removals and additions using an administrative portal.
Instead of relying on CDs or a website download to install the software on each device, you’ll have software that is ready to use. Licensing fees are included in the purchase price, so your IT team will no longer have to keep up with your software licenses to make sure all of your installed software has been purchased.
No Tech Skills Required
With so many small businesses and startups in the business world today, tech support is no longer an option. An SMB usually can’t afford a full-time IT support person, let alone the high price of a server administrator. This means relying on local businesses to provide support on an as-needed basis, which can come with a hefty per-hour price tag. Because of this, the businesses that do have on-premise software will often rely on remote support, which is outsourced via the cloud.
With cloud software, tech support is usually handled by the provider, whether by phone, email, or a help desk ticket. These providers have the income base to pay the high salaries commanded by today’s top IT professionals, both at the server level and at the user support stage. Most smaller businesses simply couldn’t afford this type of expertise on a regular basis.
Every business plans to grow over time and cloud software offers the scalability required to handle that growth. When a new employee joins its staff, a business using cloud software can simply add another user to its account management. When a company maxes out its logins, a higher-tier account can usually be ordered with minimal effort on the part of the business.
Another benefit to cloud solutions is that they usually add new features on a regular basis. As customers express an interest in being able to do more with their software, providers add these features on, making them available either automatically or with an optional account change. Cloud solutions are also continually striving to work with other software applications and these integrations make it easier for businesses to handle everything in one place.
Access from Anywhere
Today’s workforce is increasingly mobile, working from home, hotel rooms, coffeeshops, and airports. Cloud software means that these workers can access their files wherever they are, using a laptop, smartphone, or tablet. This means even while on vacation, teams can stay in touch, keeping projects moving forward through the cloud.
One of the best things about cloud solutions is that professionals no longer have to remember to take files with them when they leave the office. A presentation can be deployed directly from a user’s smartphone. Applications that handle billing, cost estimating, and project management can be accessed during meetings, allowing attendees to get the information they need without making everyone wait until the meeting is over and everyone has returned to their offices.
Connect External Users
If your team works with outside contractors and vendors, being able to grant access to those sources can be a huge relief. Instead of constantly sending emails to update everyone on the status of projects or payments, all parties involved can login and see the information at their own convenience.
Cloud connectivity also means teams can work collaboratively, even when they aren’t employed by the same company. Documents can be updated by everyone working on a project in real time, ensuring everyone has access to the latest version. Budgets can be reviewed and cost estimates can be approved, speeding up processes and reducing costly delays.
If you’ve ever suffered a server outage, you know how harmful it can be on a variety of levels. Your employees are forced to either linger around, waiting for the situation to be resolved, or go home for the day and leave your workplace unmanned. If this happens too often, you’ll use clients and even employees, as well as harm your hard-earned reputation as a business that has its act together.
Cloud providers consider reliability an important part of their business models. They make it their mission to ensure customers have access to the files and applications they need at all times. If an outage ever occurs, many cloud providers have built-in backups to take over, with customers never aware an issue has taken place. If such a backup doesn’t exist, a cloud provider still has access to experts who can ensure systems are up much more quickly than a SMB could with an on-premise server.
Security is an ongoing concern for businesses, with reports of breaches becoming commonplace. Cloud software promises a high level of security, including data encryption and strong password requirements. These small things will help keep a business’s data safe, reducing the risk of a breach that could cost money and harm customer trust in a company.
Businesses that store specialized information such as medical records or bank account information should search for a cloud provider that offers these protections. There are now cloud providers that specialize in HIPAA compliance, for instance, so a medical practice could benefit from the specialists on staff at one of those providers who can ensure that health data remains safe.
What would happen to your business if a natural disaster struck your building or data center? What if you came in one morning to find a fire had rendered your offices uninhabitable? Would you be forced to shut everything down for the duration or would your employees be able to start working immediately?
Cloud software helps disaster-proof your business, ensuring your employees can work from home or a temporary office if for some reason they can’t work in the office. Cloud providers usually have backup plans for their own servers to protect against disasters, so the software and files you use each day will be accessible even if an issue strikes one of their data centers. Before you choose a provider, feel free to ask questions about a company’s disaster provisions to make sure you’ll be worry-free.
Businesses are increasingly shifting to the cloud, whether for their entire infrastructures or select software packages. By reviewing your options and weighing the costs against the cost of purchasing hardware and software for each employee, you can determine if cloud technology is the right choice for you.