It’s no secret that many traditional corporate practices have become outdated since the start of the pandemic. In-person brainstorming sessions, meetings in conference rooms, and even the entire concept of the office.
Hence, the COVID-19 pandemic has boosted the adoption of several technologies that may be worth preserving even as the world recovers. Cloud services are an example of this.
Cloud-based applications are providing some sort of normality in these times of change, from remote collaboration to virtual classes.
The cloud used to be just one of those terms that you hear now and then. Now it’s become relevant because of all the benefits it can render to businesses, especially small ones.
What are cloud services?
According to the cloud computing company Citrix, “The term “cloud services” refers to a wide range of services delivered on-demand to companies and customers over the internet. These services are designed to provide easy, affordable access to applications and resources, without the need for internal infrastructure or hardware.
Whether they realize it or not, most employees utilize cloud services throughout the workday, from checking email to collaborating on papers.
In the same way, cloud computing services are ideal for replacing traditional servers, which take more space, time, and effort to manage. In addition, cloud computing solutions are excellent for efficient work and productive outcomes. These services are up-to-date and don’t require a lot of upkeep.
Are cloud services suitable for small businesses?
The answer is: yes, they are.
Most small business owners have the misconception that getting cloud services will imply a significant initial investment and, it’s the total opposite.
Not only are cloud solutions budget-friendly but they are also scalable, flexible, reliable, and secure.
That’s why in this article we’ll show you four main benefits that cloud services can bring to your small business. Following that, you’ll have a better understanding of why you should consider transferring some of your business procedures to the cloud.
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Benefits of cloud services for small businesses
The following are some of the most remarkable benefits of cloud services for business
Saving a document to the cloud can lead to improved communication, which can help with workflow and decision-making. Not to mention the flexibility of using a cloud-based service; you can store and access data, and anyone you grant access to, even from another nation, can do so at their leisure. There are no problems with timelines, locations, or access.
Hosted solutions increase efficiency, and the majority of cloud-based services are available on a subscription basis which depends on the amount of storage memory you need, making them a cost-effective solution.
How many times have you been stopped by a crashing computer? Or lost documents because you forgot to save them and there was no way to recover the changes made.
One of the most remarkable features of most cloud-based apps is automatic save and backup options. This means that every change you make to a document, it is saved in real-time and you can always revise previous versions if needed.
Notice that we’ve only mentioned errors caused by a malfunctioning device. Creating a document in cloud-based software allows you to do much more than just save in real time.
You can continue to work on a document from the exact point you left off, from any device. It only takes an email and password combination to access a cloud-based system, allowing you to work from anywhere.
This level of flexibility allows small businesses to work and maintain operations regardless of the place their workers are located.
File storage services are one of the more common cloud applications.
Even if your company isn’t particularly tech-savvy, you’ll almost certainly want a large amount of file storage. Keeping your inventory logs, customer information databases, and even staff information on physical, on-site archives is no longer recommended—if it ever was.
By storing everything in the cloud, you’ll be able to access all of your papers from anywhere. If security is a worry, keep in mind that as the owner and administrator of your small business’s cloud, you can regulate who has access to these files.
If you want to run a more sustainable company, you should relocate all of your files to the cloud.
Data security is a determinant factor when adopting cloud services and this is one of our clients’ main concerns when they first contact us. The truth is, data stored in the cloud is safer than data just stored on your computer or in an on-premises data server, and for the following reasons:
The first line of defense applied to cloud data storage is data encryption. By default, encryption mechanisms safeguard data saved in the cloud using a combination of complex algorithms. Therefore, an attacker will require access to an encryption key to see encrypted files.
In addition to data encryption, there are other security measures implemented at the user level, like Multi-Factor Authentication and firewalls.
Another important aspect is that not only is data in the cloud secured by firewalls and encryption but periodic data backups are taken to keep copies of your data.
It is safe to say that any piece of information stored in the cloud is covered under various levels of security. This is something that you don’t get when you store your data on physical hard drives or at a data center inside your company.
Types of cloud services
Based on the service model
Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)
IaaS is a type of cloud computing service model in which a service provider owns and operates the infrastructure (servers, storage, managed network services, and data center space). Customers can use these resources whenever they want. The service is offered as a pay-as-you-go package.
IaaS allows businesses to scale their IT resources up or down as needed without having to make huge upfront hardware investments.
The following are popular IaaS providers:
- Amazon Web Services (AWS)
- Microsoft Azure
- Google Compute Engine (GCE), which is the IaaS component of Google Cloud Platform (GCP)
Platform as a Service (PaaS)
PaaS provides a cloud-based platform for development and deployment. Application hosting, database management, and load balancing are just a few of the capabilities available with PaaS. Most PaaS providers additionally provide a set of tools to aid developers in the development, testing, and deployment of their applications.
PaaS is frequently used to build and deploy apps that would be too expensive or time-consuming to develop and host on-premises. A corporation might utilize PaaS to construct an application that requires a lot of computing power or storage, for example. Rather than investing in the hardware, infrastructure, and personnel required to construct and operate this application, they can outsource these tasks to a PaaS provider.
Software as a Service (SaaS)
Saas cloud computing allows software applications to be delivered over the Internet. End users typically access SaaS apps through a web browser, and the programs are hosted on the provider’s servers.
Companies who want to outsource the management of their software applications should consider SaaS. They can free up their own resources to focus on other objectives by employing SaaS. Furthermore, because SaaS providers host the applications, businesses do not need to invest in the necessary hardware, infrastructure, or personnel to run them.
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Based on the deployment type
Public cloud services allow users to share several resources. Private clouds, on the other hand, are used by a single business and often provide more control and protection.
Companies who want to save money on their IT infrastructure may consider using the public cloud. They can avoid the high costs of purchasing and managing their own servers and other infrastructure by using the public cloud. Furthermore, because public clouds are shared by many users, resources are frequently used more efficiently, resulting in lower prices.
In the private cloud, all of the resources are allocated to a single company. This is in contrast to public clouds, which are shared by many people.
Companies that desire more control over their IT infrastructure may consider a private cloud. They may modify their environment to match their individual demands by employing the private cloud. Private clouds can also provide better security and privacy because they are not shared by other users.
The hybrid cloud incorporates the advantages of both public and private clouds. This allows businesses to benefit from the best of both worlds without committing to one or the other.
Companies who need more autonomy over their IT infrastructure but don’t want to invest in the hardware and manpower required to manage a private cloud might consider a hybrid model instead. Companies may also employ a hybrid cloud to swiftly and efficiently scale up or down their infrastructure as needed.
Image source: Lucidchart
Cloud computing providers
Amazon Web Services (AWS)
With a 34 percent market share, Amazon Web Services, or AWS, is among the most promising cloud service providers. The scale of AWS operations is enormous, as it dominates the public cloud industry. AWS has earned the reputation of being the most enterprise-ready cloud provider because of its extensive set of services and capabilities.
Google Cloud Platform (GCP)
GCP is preferred by 49 percent of IT managers that use public cloud platforms. Google Cloud provides a broad range of services, from application and storage to compute services. As a result, it is the preferred partner for over 4 million apps.
Microsoft Azure is one of the most rapidly growing cloud providers available. Although Azure came out years after AWS and Google Cloud, it is still battling for the title of best cloud services provider.
Azure revenue is likely to climb between $33 billion and $35 billion this year. As a result, Azure is one of the world’s most profitable cloud services.
Azure’s most appealing and clever feature is its exclusive offering of Microsoft’s previous products and services. Azure’s leadership is based on its intelligence. Azure has the most advanced and comprehensive set of intelligent goods and services available.
IBM cloud adoption is rapidly expanding, with a 6% market share. IBM Cloud, like other cloud service providers, has a wide range of goods for users to choose from.
When considering a move to IBM Cloud, users realize the value of an integrated hybrid cloud. Furthermore, because it is based on open technologies, it has enormous flexibility and interoperability possibilities. It’s a pay-as-you-go concept, so it’s cost-effective, and the pricing is often reasonable.
Salesforce has grown from its early days as the leading provider of CRM software to currently offer an almost comprehensive menu of cloud-based enterprise software, ranging from marketing to commerce to integration.
In 2019, it acquired Tableau, a major data analytics company, allowing it to provide in-depth measurements in a world that now relies on data mining. Salesforce had recently purchased Mulesoft, an IT integrator that links applications, data, and devices, a year before.
Move your business to the cloud
Now that you know all the benefits you can get from cloud services, it is up to you to decide when you want to take the next step and migrate to the cloud.
If you have further inquiries or questions, don’t hesitate to contact us. We are more than happy to help you and guide you through your cloud adoption process.
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