So, you’ve heard a little something about cloud computing, but you’re not quite sure how your business can leverage this approach to save money and enhance productivity. Before we discuss some of the different ways your business may be able to use the cloud, let’s first quickly define cloud computing to make sure we’re all on the same page.
The easiest way to explain cloud computing is with an example. Imagine that instead of buying Microsoft Word for every computer in your office, your workers could just log onto a website and access this word processing software and all you’d pay is a low monthly rate based on how much of the service you use or need. That’s cloud computing. You get the services you need on demand, without the need for expensive hardware upgrades, software licenses, or installation on each workstation.
Now, what are some of the ways your business can use cloud computing?
- Data storage and backup—When you’re in the cloud, you have all the room you need to store your data and back it up. Without the cloud, you’d need costly, space-wasting physical hardware for storing your data and backing it up. And what happens if that hardware gets damaged? Your data is gone. With the cloud, you can store and backup critical system data right over the internet, so you can always access it, no matter where you are.
- Email—The cloud takes the hassle and expense out of maintaining your own email server. There are many different options available for cloud email, such as Gmail for Business and Microsoft Office 365. These services let you access your email from any device with an internet connection, sync up your calendars, backup your emails, and enjoy a range of other useful add-on features.
- Voice communications—How much money is your company wasting on voice and data? By upgrading your phone system to the cloud, your employees can access the communications they have at their desk from anywhere in the world. This frees your employees up to work from anywhere, helping to increase productivity. Furthermore, you can take advantage of new ways to communicate, such as video conferencing.
- Software—At the beginning of this post, you saw an example of how the cloud can be used to access software, such as a word processor, spreadsheet, sales database, CRM program, and any other type of software you can imagine. In the past, acquiring software licenses for all the employees in your office was expensive and involved the time-consuming act of installing and maintaining the software on every computer in your office. Now, everyone can access the software they need online at a fraction of the cost.
- Managed workstations—No longer will you need manual desktop maintenance. When you’re in the cloud, every computer and wireless device can be managed individually via remote IT support.
Of course, these are just five of the ways businesses can use cloud computing. You’re only just scratching the surface of the possibilities offered in the cloud!
About the Author: Daniel J. Clarke is the Director of Marketing for Dataprise, an IT and network support company that provides services for growing businesses.