Why Your Small Business Needs Cloud Computing

Have you heard other business owners talking about cloud computing and wondered what they're talking about? For the small business owner, it provides access to technologies that only a few years ago would have been out of reach. By allowing you to access your business data and applications from anywhere in the world, whatever time of the day or night it is, you can compete with other businesses, regardless of their size. The days of traditional desktop applications are numbered. If you've found yourself wondering whether it's time to upgrade to cloud-based computing, here are six good reasons why you should take that step.
 
Low Cost
For the small business owner who has to watch every dollar spent, investing large sums of money in software is not always possible. It could be a video-editing suite you need to aid the creative process, or an accounting program that records income and expenditure. Paying upfront for software and licenses can soon add up to thousands of dollars. A much better option is to pay a smaller fee, spread out over many months, for cloud-based access to the same program. As a small business owner, you can access the same high-end software as big companies.
 
Hardware Requirements are Lower
Using cloud-based computing allows you to cut back on your hardware expenses. You're not going to need to run your own server, and you don't need to invest in high-end computer systems so that you can run a particular software suite. To work effectively and efficiently, your cloud-based systems will require a reliable and fast internet connection. File storage, data backup, and software programs can take up a lot of space on computers and servers. With a cloud-based system, it gets stored on someone else's server. The end result is that your in-house computers are freed up and can be used for other things.  
 
Maintenance is Hassle-Free
Most cloud-based systems run through a simple web browser which means there's no need for in-house tech support. Rather than having to worry about installing and updating software, the cloud service provider does it all for you. When you're running on a tight budget, like many small business owners are, there's little left for in-house tech support. Using cloud-based computing means your programs will always have the latest features.
 
Integration
Many cloud-computing providers offer a range of integrated programs, addressing several needs. This makes it much easier for you to consolidate the different programs you use. Let's take a cloud-based payments system as an example. With help from the best merchant account providers, systems can be integrated with external accounting and management software. Access is available 24/7, via mobile devices. Prices can be updated, and orders placed remotely, which brings improved efficiency for your business. Your customers will also benefit from a seamless transaction process.
 
Accessibility
One of the biggest advantages of cloud computing is ease of access. Using a cloud-based program means that information can be accessed from any device connected to the internet. It can be via a web browser or a dedicated app. Both you and your employees will be able to work while traveling, when sat at their desk in the office, or on their phone or tablet when working from home.  
 
Security
Considering cloud-based payments systems again, data stored on them is more secure than physical systems. They might still be fairly new, but system providers have invested in creating more robust security measures. For customers using internet-based payment services, security is a big concern. Compliance with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard is vital. 
 
Cloud technology has the potential to improve many aspects of your small business. In the field of information storage and security there is little that can compare. It is also helping the way we work together and the accuracy with which we make important business decisions. If your business doesn't yet use cloud-computing, then you're missing out and liable to get left behind. Make good use of it and you're on more of an even playing field with the biggest of your competitors. As well as reducing costs, it can improve collaboration and productivity. Gone are the days of employees having to sit under the noses of the boss. The virtual working environment is the way forward for today's employees and you can provide this type of opportunity with the help of a cloud. You've been using it at home for many years, which makes it all the easier to include it in your own working environment.