Cloud storage keeps the business updated, aligned and secure. Source: Shutterstock

Small businesses – it’s time to tap into cloud computing

The events of 2020 will surely be a catalyst for cloud adoption – if one were really needed.

From collaboration tools to virtual learning, cloud-based applications are being used to buoy businesses through the COVID-19 pandemic. In fact, the crisis has underscored the need for businesses to not only digitize workflows but move them cloudwards in order to stay fully operational wherever their workforce may be.

For large firms with big budgets, undertaking various levels of cloud computing has been much more viable so far. Resources can be allocated to expedite and ease projects and migrations, regardless of their scale, and the talent to oversee these initiatives can be taken on without breaking much of a sweat.

For smaller businesses, however, the move to cloud has been more cautious, largely by necessity, given the cost and scale of the undertaking and the notoriously lofty costs attached to public cloud players like Alibaba Cloud, AWS, and Azure.

But often it simply comes down to a lack of know-how as to the possible benefits, and just how accessible, flexible and transformational they can be, particularly thanks to new cloud computing services as alternatives to the big-budget market-leaders.

Charging up the business

With a wealth of cloud computing services across Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS), and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), companies can find the services they need without heavy software or hardware overheads. A subscription can provide companies with the cloud power they need, which can quickly be scaled up and down, and configured to meet changing requirements.

For that fee, a service provider can handle the hardware upkeep, software patching and updates behind the curtains. Smaller businesses therefore spend less of their valuable time and limited resources on tech, and more on operations to drive their growth and customer experience.

Always connected from anywhere

By its nature, cloud facilitates access and real-time collaboration from anywhere with an internet connection, which can boost operational efficiency and alignment on the go.

With a cloud storage service, whether it’s Google Drive, pCloud, OneDrive or DropBox, to name just a few popular examples, employees can quickly access whatever information or data they need (and have access to), and ensure that everyone is up to speed with any updates, wherever they’re located.

Added security

Often unequipped with cybersecurity tools and expertise, there is a common misconception among smaller businesses that data will only be secure within their four walls.

This couldn’t be further from the truth: when the on-site data servers get hacked, or a hard drive goes missing, all data will be compromised. While SMEs would still need to play their part in data security, cloud service providers have extra measures in place to keep data secure.

Cloud services will also be much more difficult (though not impossible) for hackers to crack, and can stave off the risk of phishing and malware, which can bring any business, of any scale, to its knees.

According to Sid Nag, research vice president at Gartner, cloud services are continually “shaking up the industry.”

“There are no vendors we know of today whose business and revenue growth are not influenced by cloud adoption. By 2022, the cloud service industry will be worth US$331.2 billion, and what we see now is only the beginning.”

For small businesses delaying the inevitable, there’s never been a better time to make the leap.