While corporations may have the resources to staff a full IT department, small businesses often have to leverage as many useful automated tools and systems as possible to keep up. Every industry has a host of CRMs, marketing platforms, and other generalized services that help every kind of organization keep up, but there’s one term that seems to connect everything these days: The Cloud.
This isn’t a Ted Talk about how to read altocumulus or cirrostratus clouds (how about that for a throwback to your Environmental Science class, Mrs. Nichols?) but instead a quick look into how taking a simple step with your business can unlock a whole new world of potential for your organization.
In this blog, we’re going to cover what the cloud is, why small businesses are moving their work there, and what exactly are the key benefits of moving to the cloud.
What is the cloud?
The terminology has been much maligned, like when fictional companies claim to be “The Cloud for Your Cloud” – whatever that means – but a cloud is simply the term used for a global network of servers, each with a unique function. The cloud provides on-demand access to computer system resources, especially data storage resources and additional computing power, without direct management by the client.
So then to utilize the cloud means that, instead of accessing files and data from a local or personal computer, your team can access that information from any Internet-capable device anywhere in the world. Large clouds often have functions distributed over multiple locations, each location being a data center, allowing each task to be completed without any risk of crossing streams, so to speak.
The TL;DR – Working with the cloud means your information will be available to anyone with access, anywhere they go, anytime they need it.
Why are small businesses moving to the cloud more?
There are an infinite number of reasons why someone could work remotely in today’s marketplace, Gallup says 53% of workers anticipate they will be remote in 2022 and beyond. And no matter why it’s happening at your business, there are likely people checking in from anywhere from their favorite coffee shop to a mountain top chalet and beyond – which means they’ll need to have instant access to information no matter where they’re working that day.
How to secure your remote work environment: The Six Pillars of Securing Your Hybrid Workforce
Public clouds, or a cloud model where computing resources are owned and operated by a provider and shared (for a fee) across multiple tenants via the Internet, are quickly becoming a useful tool for small businesses. Gartner forecasted end-user spending on public cloud services to reach $396 billion in 2021 and grow 21.7% to reach $482 billion in 2022.
By 2026, Gartner predicted public cloud spending could exceed 45% of all enterprise IT spending, and McKinsey suggested that by 2024 every $8 of $10 in IT hosting will go towards the cloud. By avoiding custom development businesses can easily save time and resources and, while many key competitors across the country are avoiding tapping into cloud systems, businesses utilizing the cloud can grow faster and increase revenue. For example, Microsoft Cloud revenue is up 32% year over year, meaning cloud adoption and usage is continuing to grow rapidly.
Additionally, many public clouds have built-in security features and specialized cloud security tools to help ensure that an organization's resources are protected. Security patching is done automatically by the cloud provider in many cases, meaning these public clouds are excellent and efficient ways to add layers of capabilities for your team without breaking the bank.
What are the key benefits of moving to the cloud?
Okay, so you can save money. But what, exactly, does the cloud offer for businesses?
There isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer because, well, your business isn’t your neighbor’s or your competitors, and since every team and situation is unique the problems the cloud can solve vary by group. Overall there are a handful of benefits that stand out, like:
- Lower Long-Term Costs
There are significant savings to be found in resource, maintenance, and overall real estate costs, plus cloud computation optimizes workloads so that they cost less to run.
- Less Downtime
Aside from some high-profile instances that have been since overhauled, cloud storage is all but immune to problems that could lead to downtime.
While not every system offers these programs, some cloud platforms have specialized offerings to seamlessly meet compliance requirements—this is ideal for highly regulated industries like finance, healthcare, and government.
- Flexibility and Scalability
You only pay for what you use with the cloud, meaning there is no wasted spending, and scaling is simple. Much like an electric car, there is no wait time when power (computing or horse) is required, delivering that power is as simple as pushing a button.
- Backup, Recovery, and Failover
Most cloud providers help to improve business continuity by offering built-in, one-click backup and recovery capabilities – something we’ve talked about extensively as a MUST DO for all businesses. Some providers even offer the ability to store backups in different geographic regions to avoid natural disasters impacting business.
Read more about backups: Why Data Backups Are Important Plus Strategies To Protect Your Information
- Simplified Management and Monitoring
Small businesses can manage and monitor their data and cloud resources from a single screen (if the cloud provider offers a central management tool, of course).
The best way to tell if the cloud is right for your small business is to ask one simple question: Does your small business exist in 2022?
Okay, that’s a bit cheeky (much like a Nando’s) but the reality is the cloud offers so much for businesses in today’s marketplace that there is something for everyone to be found. Such a wide-ranging network of global servers has given rise to some of the most effective and efficient answers for businesses of all kinds, and small businesses are no different.
From additional security and downtime avoidance to the flexibility to grow at your own speed and beyond, the cloud is truly a heavyweight champion in the modern digital world. To learn more about how the cloud can benefit your business, contact us, give us a call at (864) 552-1291 and we'll help you evaluate capabilities and options. Also, sign up for PTG Tech Talk and consider following us on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter!