Cloud storage is surging in the small business world. Popular names such as Dropbox, Google Drive, and Apple iCloud are used by companies. A 2015 survey by Clutch found that out of 438 participating small businesses, about 53% were storing data in the cloud. These are companies with as many as 1,000 employees. There are many other storage providers on the market, including VMware, SolidFire, Docker, OpenStack, etc.
The majority of cloud vendors provide similar services. While many articles point to how to select one over the other, how your business stands to benefit is an important factor. Many business leaders focus on the concerns. The benefits, however, are many and often outweigh any downsides. That does depend on your company and industry, but the challenges that have arisen with cloud storage in the past have yielded effective solutions now widely available.
Network and data management are much less of a burden when you use cloud storage. Here are five ways small businesses are benefiting from it today.
Rather than investing huge amounts of money on in-house data security, cloud storage providers include this in their services including for specialized software like Hadoop security. Data encryption, virus scanning, security checks, and multiple layers of security are used on providers’ backend networks. This removes the burden of having to implement all of these yourself. Plus, costs are passed on through monthly service fees divided amongst all subscribers.
Backup systems are usually included as well. When you store data in the cloud, they are backed up in multiple places and these are all synced, so any changes are recorded at every backup site. There’s no need to manually back up data, which can take a lot of time. Anti-virus and malware updates are automatic, so you never have to stop and address these, or deal with the consequences of forgetting to do so.
Today even a small business can operate on a global scale. Remote workers and teams can access data and resources via the cloud from wherever they are. Administrators can grant them access based on their personal or machine/device identities. Access privileges can be set for different users as well. You can keep everyone informed while managing the entire access protocol for people on different continents.
There are just too many things that can affect your data. If data are stored only in your main office, a brief power failure can be disastrous. Internet connectivity problems and even natural disasters can happen suddenly. Not only are you talking about extended downtime. The data your business relies on can be erased for good, and this has taken many a small business under.
Consistency also removes distractions. Cloud storage is always available. If there’s a disruption at the office, you can switch locations or log back in when the dust settles. Data are often stored in multiple secure places, sometimes far away from one another. This means a power failure in one place won’t impact the availability of the same data elsewhere.
4. Reduced Costs
The outsourcing of data storage doesn’t just save you financially, but also reduces the amount of energy you use. Backup systems are big, expensive, and energy guzzling. Computers and backup servers, cables, power supplies, and more add up. Cloud vendors also eliminate the need to hire a team of data security and management professionals. They help eliminate many expenses from your budget in exchange for inclusive, less-expensive service rates.
5. Business Focus
With cloud storage, your company can re-allocate manpower and time away from storage management and backup systems. It can concentrate on optimizing its customer service strategy. More resources can be put into what makes your product and service most useful. Also, with greater peace of mind, your team can work free of a range of burdens and help the organization deliver on its promises.
Cloud storage has many benefits for small businesses. It is secure, reliable, and enables personnel from all over the world to remain connected, and that doesn’t even include the benefits from private cloud solutions. The cost reduction and time and workload savings enable your employees to focus on business-related tasks. No wonder so many companies have adopted the same common cloud platforms as consumers.