What’s the best way to increase your profits? Improve your leading product or service? Branch out into new markets? Launch an innovative marketing campaign? All of these are great options, provided you have the ability to implement them. Sometimes, though, the best way to increase the amount you make is to decrease the amount you spend. Cutting back on costs makes your business leaner, meaner, and better able to compete in the marketplace.
It is one area which is absolutely essential for businesses of all sizes, but which can get prohibitively expensive. Even with just a couple of employees you need to ensure that you have the right software and a reliable email system. Cloud computing is quickly gaining popularity as a cost control method, with hundreds of thousands of businesses worldwide adopting at least one cloud-based service in the workplace.
What is Cloud Computing?
Cloud computing infrastructure is best thought of as a storage method. Rather than keeping your data – both documents and applications – on your own PC, you outsource this task to a cloud provider. Why would you want to do this? There are a number of reasons. Firstly, it’s true that it can reduce costs. Firms which handle large volumes of data traditionally need to buy and maintain their own servers on-site, which involves significant upfront expenditure and which saddles the business with hardware which will age and break down. With the cloud, you pay on a rolling basis, and only for the amount of storage that you need. This can be easily scaled up as your business grows. Smaller firms can save money by paying for their applications via subscription – at a fixed cost per user, per month instead of one-off purchases.
Secondly, the cloud offers great convenience. Because all data is stored in a central location, it doesn’t matter where you work from, or on what device. Simply log in – from your PC at work, your tablet at home, or even your smartphone during your commute – and you have instant access to all of your files and applications. This system also makes collaborating with others very simple. With the click of a button, you can share documents with other users, who can make edits in real time. In this way, you can work with others no matter what their physical location may be.
Limitations of Cloud Computing Infrastructure
The cloud isn’t suitable for all businesses. Even though common providers, such as Microsoft, offer very secure services, it can be the case that you need to host certain files on-site for security or regulatory reasons. If this is true, it may be best to consider a private cloud or conventional IT setup.
If your business doesn’t enjoy a stable internet connection, it’s probably best not to move to a cloud-based system. Dropouts will mean that you are unable to access your files at all, harming productivity. As long as your connection is secure, though, you have no reason to worry – good cloud providers offer financially-backed minimum service levels, meaning that you can claim money back if you lose access for more than a very small amount of time.
You can read more about cloud computing at the Penman IT site.
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