About 88% of companies have already moved their applications to the cloud in 2020, a report by O’Reilly Media, Inc found. Furthermore, a quarter of its respondents plan on moving all their apps to the cloud in the coming years. So, it’s no surprise that the cloud computing industry was valued at $199.01 billion in 2019 and is expected to grow to $760 billion by 2027.
Cloud computing is more than just a trend now. It’s starting to become the norm for businesses of every size. But what exactly is this technology, and how does it benefit small enterprises like yours?
Cloud Computing Explained
Cloud computing is something that you’ve probably used in your business or personal life before without realizing it. This technology involves using applications, development platforms, and storage from a provider on the internet instead of your own hard drive (or hard drives, if you have your own server). This technology has three types:
Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)
This involves providing the barebones cloud computing resources like the data center, servers, storage, networking hardware, and virtualization. It’s up to your I.T. team to choose and install an operating system and create applications.
Platform as a Service (PaaS)
PaaS has everything that IaaS has, with servers, networking, and data center access, but it also includes the operating system and development tools. All your team needs to do is use these platforms to create applications for your business.
Software as a Service (SaaS)
This is the most popular cloud computing type, especially for small businesses like yours. It provides everything that both PaaS and IaaS offer, but it also gives you premade applications for your business processes like customer relationship management, human resources, procurement, and more. All you need to do is to customize them for your needs.
Benefits of Cloud Computing to SMBs
Space and cost savings
If you’re still using manual methods for your business processes, you may be wasting precious space on clunky drawers and stacks of papers. And even if you have digital solutions implemented, chances are they require you to have your own servers, which require their own rooms as well. Plus, you have to pay a team to maintain and possibly repair them. With cloud computing, you’re renting all your infrastructure from a provider in a separate facility. They fix and maintain the servers for you, too.
Applications like Office365 allow you to create a live document that people can update and edit in real-time. It shows which person made which changes, too. That gives your company a single source of truth.
Cloud apps can also be accessed anytime and from anywhere as long as you have an internet connection and a browser. So you can provide remote work opportunities for your employees.
If you want to upgrade your on-site storage, you need to buy additional hard drives and even server racks and have them installed. This process can take hours to days to do. Plus, if you want to update traditional software, you have to install them individually on every computer.
You won’t experience these problems when using cloud solutions. All you have to do is communicate with your service provider for an upgrade, pay for it. Within minutes to hours, you’ll have upgraded storage or app capabilities—no need to move anything around or install programs manually.
Peace of mind
If your office experiences a disaster like a flood or fire, chances are, you may lose vital business and customer data because of destroyed paperwork or server hard drives. Plus, over 43% of cyber attacks happen to small businesses. A single data breach can cost your business up to $200,000 due to data loss, recovery, legal fees, reputation damage, and other damages. That causes a lot of SMBs to close down soon after experiencing a cyber attack.
A cloud service provider backs up your vital business data in multiple servers in different locations, so they’re always available, no matter what happens to your office. You can also get cloud file sync services for your applications to protect them from data loss and ransomware.
Cloud computing is a technology that businesses of all sizes and industries are beginning to adopt aggressively. And it’s no surprise, as it provides a variety of benefits like security, scalability, easy collaboration, space and cost savings, and remote work opportunities. Plus, many up and coming providers can provide the cloud infrastructure, platforms, and applications you need. It’s not a matter of if, but when you take to the clouds.