What Is Cloud Computing and How Is It Impacting Small and Medium Businesses?
According to Reviewlution, more than 90% of businesses in Canada now use cloud computing services in one form or another. But if you own or manage a small or medium business, the prospect of switching to cloud computing may seem daunting. Especially if you have used the same in-house infrastructure for years, and have invested time and money into optimizing it to a high level.
However, Cloud computing services offer small and medium businesses a number of significant benefits that can have a positive impact on everything from productivity to client relations.
In this post, we explain what cloud computing is, how it works, and how it can positively affect your company.
What is Cloud Computing?
Cloud computing services deliver the technology you need to run a small or medium business remotely. The computing occurs on a different machine than the one you are using (e.g. your PC or Mac), which could be located hundreds or thousands of miles away.
While there are different types of cloud services on the market, the term generally encompasses the following:
All data collected while accessing the remote machine is handled by cloud servers, so your own machine will not be under as much strain as it usually would. You can easily access the software and platforms you need via other servers, so your devices’ memory and power are freed up.
How Does Cloud Computing Affect Small and Medium Businesses?
Small and medium businesses can reap the following rewards from adopting cloud computing:
Greater Flexibility to Work Remotely
Cloud computing enabled countless businesses to continue operations during the pandemic. Around 5 million Canadians work from home as of 2021, though remote working had already become increasingly common before COVID-19 struck.
With cloud computing, employees can access the applications and data from anywhere provided they have an internet connection and the necessary logins. That means entire teams can work from home or anywhere else they choose to instead of coming into the office day after day. Collaboration is still possible even when workers are in separate cities or even countries.
Companies could downsize to a small office purely for meetings or employees who prefer to use a dedicated workspace. And they can save money on certain overheads (e.g. electricity) and ultimately make their budgets go further. They will also have access to a global talent pool and find skilled workers they may otherwise miss.
Cutting Costs on Hardware and Maintenance
The latest hardware can be incredibly expensive to buy and maintain over time, particularly if you have a growing team to equip. But while in-house teams rely on high-performing computers and other essentials, businesses can save money on servers and physical storage with cloud computing.
Those freed-up funds may be channelled into other areas, such as expanding teams and enhancing marketing campaigns.
Empowering Workers with the Latest Technology
Small and medium businesses will have access to fast, reliable servers, high-quality platforms, and other technologies with a comprehensive cloud computing package. Companies that continue to use the same on-premises equipment for years without upgrades or replacements are likely to struggle with common drawbacks of outdated technology (such as slow performance or crashes).
Employees may work at their most productive when they have the latest technologies at their fingertips. They won’t need to worry about weak connections, slow load times, or other issues they may be used to.
In-house IT staff can also focus on keeping computers and other devices running smoothly without facing more complex technical problems. Whether it’s a minor cabling issue or a computer due to being replaced, IT teams will be able to provide employees with the fundamental assistance they need to stay productive.
Ensuring Reliable Disaster Recovery to Minimize Downtime
A power outage, cyber attack, flood, fire, theft, vandalism, or any other disaster could severely impact small or medium businesses. Global corporations have the finances in place to get back up and running quickly, but it’s not so simple for companies on a tighter budget.
Any data loss caused by a physical or digital problem can prevent teams from operating at their usual capacity for days or weeks. Clients may not receive the products or services they have paid for, which could fracture positive relationships that have formed over months or years.
Fortunately, cloud computing provides businesses with reliable disaster recovery suitable for virtually any emergency. Teams will always have a copy of documents, images, videos, and anything else they need in the cloud, so they can access it from any location and get back to work immediately. That reduces the likelihood of downtime and lost income.
Improving Information Security with Cutting-Edge Measures
As successful cyber attacks affected more than 85% of Canadian companies in 2021, it’s vital that small and medium businesses implement effective cybersecurity measures. Successful attacks could prevent employees from accessing essential software and doing their job, and can cost a lot of money to put right.
For example, 11% of cybersecurity incidents affecting Canadian companies in 2021 involved ransomware, and 18% made a ransom payment to resolve the issue. That would eat into any small or medium business’s finances substantially.
The best cloud computing services utilize state-of-the-art encryption to secure your data and restrict access to authorized users only. Companies can be more confident in their safety while they work and reassure clients that they provide secure services.
Even with the best security in place, though, it’s paramount that teams remain vigilant and understand common threats.
Training employees to be aware of ransomware and other threats can reduce a business’s (costly) risk of falling victim to a cybercriminal, especially when bolstered by cutting-edge security solutions.
How Can You Start Taking Advantage of Cloud Computing Services?
NETWORTH is an experienced, trusted provider of managed IT services. We offer comprehensive cloud computing services for small and medium businesses, tailored to your exact requirements and goals.
Our experts will assess your current infrastructure to identify weaknesses and improvement opportunities, then recommend the ideal package for your business. Schedule a consultation today!