You are at your computer in your business, getting warning messages about the size of images. You wonder whether your customers will be able to see your photos. You question your system’s ability to properly manage your inventory (with sufficient security and backup mechanisms), and whether it has the performance and scalability to respond adequately when you get a spike in traffic following publicity or announcement of a sale.
These concerns are shared by many organizations in the United States and beyond. Many small businesses simply do not have IT personnel on staff – and that makes sense, since IT people are often underused at businesses that have a staff of 50 or under. Plus, they may not have the capital on hand to pay for infrastructure (servers, space in which to store them, security and environmental controls) upfront.
When an organization is not sure that creating an IT department is a good investment, or if it wants its IT staff to focus on other tasks such as tech innovation, cloud hosting can make sense.
The cloud has been so successful as a technology because of its simplicity and convenience. Cloud hosting, or infrastructure as a service (IaaS), provides a central location for the storing, accessing and transfer of data between all web-connected devices. As an alternative to setting up a data center and recruiting IT experts to create applications and protect your systems, cloud solutions are engineered and maintained – patched and updated – by an outside party.
You do not have to worry about backing up or losing a single file. The cloud saves and backs up your data, making it accessible to your staff from any location. Teammates can collaborate in real time on the same file. The cloud allows you to manage various tasks and projects seamlessly without working with multiple copies.
With the cloud, you have an incredibly adaptive system. You can start delivering resources to systems that work and phase out ones that do not much more seamlessly than with traditional back ends. Once you have your cloud server in place, you can connect it to programs that bolster your communications, digitize document signing or other tasks previously completed by hard copy, automate vexing chores such as collecting on invoices, and make your workflow more efficient. Transitioning to the cloud gives you access to a vast library of applications that together can make the way you do business more intelligent.
Using non-cloud accounting software can be a substantial investment of effort and time in the wrong direction. Using a cloud-based accounting system makes it possible to enter data into a single ledger that is shared with your financial staff. Directly integrated with all your financial accounts, and with bank reconciliation performed automatically, you can stay abreast of your company’s financial status moment by moment via cloud infrastructure.
A strong cloud host will give you a position from which you can approach the global economy. It is critical in today’s business world to leverage IT systems for growth, and that need can be challenging to meet in a rapidly evolving landscape. The cloud can adapt to the change, since updates to equipment and software are central to this virtual model.
People have often worried about the security of the cloud, but it is actually one of the most secure environments to store data because it is monitored at all times by security professionals. For example, someone may still steal your laptop, but they won’t be able to get into your data unless they have your cloud account login. The data is within that account as opposed to on your hard drive.
The cloud allows you to stay up and running, business continuity intact, if you experience a fire or natural disaster. Secure offsite storage of your data is provided automatically by cloud, since its servers are at a separate location from your business. With a web-connected mobile device or computer, you can immediately access the system and get to work.
Sometimes you will want other parties to have access to your systems and data. Within a cloud-hosted environment, you can control their levels of access. By controlling at the level of privileges, you can avoid risky activities such as using USB sticks, emailing files or even giving another person your login.