Cloud computing changes the way companies of all kinds do business.
Whether you’re a brand new e-commerce startup, a mid-size business with room to grow, or an established company with a complex computing ecosystem, cloud computing is the obvious next-step for many organizations.
The cloud gives companies access to the tools and technology they need to be successful — while simultaneously reducing the overall cost of things like downtown, maintenance, and disaster recovery.
But first, how does cloud computing work?
In the early days of the Internet, computing of all kinds was handled locally, within the confines of a company’s workspace.
Your company bought a suite of equipment that included desktop computers and all the related hardware, plus all the software packages employees needed to do their jobs.
All this usually required routine IT maintenance and regular upgrades – which, over time, could be both time-consuming and expensive. Under these conditions, data was only as safe as the systems that housed it, and a natural disaster or hacking event could cripple a business. But the advent of “the cloud” changed all that.
Cloud computing is just a name for remote hosting, in which a third party provider makes storage space and various kinds of software and services available to personal and business users on a pay-as-you-go basis.
Whether you opt for hosting in the public cloud or your own private cloud, remote hosting offers economical and scalable storage and data management solutions for businesses of all kinds.
“Why cloud computing? Because it’s the best thing for small business since the creation of the stapler. Cloud computing can give you access to your business data and applications from anywhere at anytime from any mobile device, at a reasonable price.” — The Balance SMB
The cloud cuts local computing costs (and needs)
Because cloud hosting accounts are carried on the provider’s remote servers, there’s no need to install new hardware or upgrade existing machines as your business grows and changes. Cloud hosting plans come in a variety of prices and features, and they can be upgraded or adjusted at any time — which means you’re paying only for the services your business actually needs.
Likewise, cloud users don’t have to be concerned with purchasing and installing updated versions of essential business software. The cloud services provider is responsible for both those things, and they’re carried out on the hosting provider’s servers.
Cloud services are designed to be user-friendly, backed up by the host’s support staff. This means that small businesses on a budget don’t need to spend a lot of money on hiring and maintaining a dedicated IT staff to keep a local system running smoothly.
Cloud hosting services typically provide 24/7 support, and higher tier hosting plans can include managed services that handle just about every aspect of your business account.
“Rather than using a dedicated server that you own, maintain, and pay for regardless of demand, your workloads will share server infrastructure with other organizations’ computing needs. This allows the cloud-computing provider to optimize the hardware needs of its data centers, which means you’re not paying for idle infrastructure which results in lower operating costs.” — Webroot
Cloud services boost productivity
When your business computing is hosted in the cloud, all your data and applications are available at any time, from any location. Because of this, employees don’t have to be restricted to a desktop or limited to specific office hours to get things done.
Small businesses on a budget can rely on independent contractors and freelancers for various projects and tasks. And with the 24/7 accessibility of cloud services, businesses can leverage people from around the globe for remote work and collaboration. This widens your talent pool, can reduce the need for on-site employees, and lower operational needs and costs.
If your business involves retail sales or professional services, cloud hosting makes it possible for customers and clients to conduct transactions whenever they like, from any device.
Shoppers can place orders and ask questions, and clients can contact your live chat, FAQs, or tutorials on their schedule. Cloud hosting services can accommodate all the applications your business typically uses, so they can function around the clock to serve your company’s brand.
The cloud protects your data
Even with backups, data that’s held exclusively on local systems can be vulnerable to loss or cybercrime events such as hacking. A natural disaster such as a fire or flood could destroy local hardware and everything stored there, causing considerable losses.
But data in the cloud is hosted on one or more of the provider’s servers, usually at multiple locations and backed up as part of the provider’s own commitment to keeping accounts secure.
In the event of a local crash or another event, you and your customers can still access your company’s data without interruption. Cloud storage also includes the host’s own security protocols, which also helps protect your data from costly losses and downtime.
Related Content: 7 ways to avoid ransomware in your business
The cloud saves energy and resources
Business computing can be energy intensive, accounting for a considerable part of a company’s outlay for energy and physical resources such as paper and ink. When data is hosted in the cloud, it saves the costs of running and maintaining local equipment and reduces waste. This makes cloud computing an eco-friendly alternative that reduces a company’s overall carbon footprint.
Whether you’re a small business on a budget or a corporation looking for efficient ways to manage complex operations, there’s a cloud that’s right for you — one with flexible, scalable plans to support your company’s computing needs for today, tomorrow, and beyond.
If you’re looking for cloud computing services in the Baltimore area, you can get more details here.