So, you're interested in moving certain operations of your business to the cloud? Like many others, you're likely a little unsure of just what that means and find yourself perplexed at the number of options and varying viewpoints you hear on the subject. The fact is, the cloud is one of the more secure options and is one of the most effective ways of improving many facets of your business. This post aims to declutter what we've all heard about cloud computing.
Defining "the cloud"
Think of the cloud as an effortlessly accessible server. One (or one of many, actually) that store your information so that you can access it from anywhere at anytime. The following are examples of how you likely utilize the cloud now;
- iTunes Match/Google Music/Spotify
In the past, depending upon your age, your music was available only on local media such as cassettes, CDs, or iTunes on your computer, which you could sync to your iPod. With services such as iTunes Match or Spotify, our music can now live somewhere else, allowing us to simply sign in and enjoy.
- Traditional filing vs cloud storage
Your files used to only be accessible at the office. With online or cloud storage, your files are conveniently available for you whenever you’re online at anytime, from anywhere.
- Traditional shopping vs online shopping
When your physical business is only open at limited times and places then customers have a limited time frame to view and buy your products. With online shopping, customers can enjoy the convenience of being able to view products and shop anytime, anywhere and on any device.
- Traditional accounting software vs cloud accounting software
With traditional desktop software, your data lives on your computer or laptop. This means it’s only available at limited times and on limited devices – and often to a limited number of people. With cloud software, your data lives online, so it’s always accessible from anywhere at any time if you have an internet connection. Good cloud software will also let an unlimited number of people use it at the same time.
Your data is actually safer in the cloud than ever before. Physically, your computer can be stolen. Cloud services are continuously updated, generally without you even knowing, making it less succeptible to would-be theives.
However, it is only as secure as your password. Be sure to use strong passwords that you do not use for everything else you log into.
The Cloud Has Your Back
Generally, cloud service providers use redundant servers that constantly back one another up. They should also be geographically separate, prohibiting a natural disaster from knocking out your access to your information, or the complete loss of that information.
The iCloud is not the Sum Total of the Cloud
It never fails that during a conversation regarding the cloud, someone nods in agreement and says something like, "oh yeah, the iCloud." While Apple's iCloud is a cloud based product, the cloud is far more than just an Apple product.
What if the Internet Goes Away?
If the internet ceases to exist, I hope you're a prepper. We all will have much bigger issues to deal with than anything we had stored in the cloud.
- Isn’t cloud computing just a fad?
The cloud has been around for years and it’s only getting bigger. Internet banking started over 15 years ago. Now the technology is so fast and cheap that it’s being used for everything.
- Isn’t cloud computing expensive?
It’s much cheaper because you only pay for what you use. You’re not paying for endless upgrades, system maintenance, support fees or additional hardware like backup systems.
- Don’t I lose control of my data?
You actually have much more control of your data, since you can access, share and work with your info, anywhere, anytime, on any device. You also control who has access – which you can revoke in an instant.
- Isn’t the cloud only for tech people?
The cloud is much easier for everyone – you just log in and it works. Imagine: you don’t have to install files, worry about versions, or deal with patches and upgrades. Just log in.
Let the cloud set you free
As you can see, the big benefit of cloud computing is that it lets you get at your data anytime, anywhere. The cloud breaks the chain between your office computer and your business information.
Need access to your business bank account while you're on the move? No problem with the cloud. Want to buy office supplies while you're on the train? It's easy. Need to update your accounts while you're out of the office? Now you can.
With the cloud there's no need to keep all your files and applications on a single computer – no need to worry about backups, theft, data loss, support and upgrades. It's all taken care of by dedicated teams of technical people. You no longer have to worry about what's happening behind the scenes.
The cloud takes the stress out of computing. It lets you use computers, laptops, tablets, smartphones and other devices to access all your business information – seamlessly, securely and in real time. Just log in and go, anytime and anywhere.