Cloud Computing – Practical Solutions
The new era in computing is here. A new way to minimise costs, maximise efficiency and best of all run an effective business. These may sound like dramatic claims, but ‘cloud’ computing is rapidly changing the way business is done. This is not just some fad for corporations with a huge budget either – it’s a cost effective solution that is coming to a small business near you!
What is Cloud Computing?
Essentially ‘cloud’ computing is utilising any subscription-based or pay-per-use service that, in real time over the Internet, completes essential or business related tasks for you. It’s outsourcing for the web generation. You don’t need to store your data locally or pay for expensive software licenses, with information instead being stored on secure servers in the ‘cloud’ that are accessible 24/7 wherever you are in the world. All you need is a computer or smart phone with an internet connection – it’s that simple. Data is always up to date so you can make important business decisions on the go.
The costs for cloud computing services vary, but in essence are much cheaper than traditional software services. Accounting software provider Xero (EFS Business Partner) starts at only $29 per month and allows much greater flexibility than locally stored software. The costs and dangers of storing information locally also mean that cloud computing is a logical choice for many businesses. Some cloud services are even free when supported by advertising!
The ‘cloud’ in action:
1) Businesses can cut a big chunk out of their expenses by choosing to shift employees onto online call and communication services where businesses only required to pay minimal costs – from reduced rates for calls to even just the cost of broadband services or similar. Using technologies such as VoiP, people can talk face to face over the internet, making use of video and audio technology. This assists businesses to not only communicate easily and cheaply, but also makes it possible for people to have meetings with clients remotely which in turn drastically cuts down your businesses traveling costs as well as minimising the downtime of frequently travelling employees.
2) Certain online tools can help you structure your day and keep track of what you are doing. ‘Toodledo’ is an online service allows you to organise and sort your tasks on a tiered model, enabling you to categorise things by priority. It is also fully optimised for mobile devices, helping you keep organised on the move. Google’s to-do list service also provides links directly to your Gmail account, providing easy access for any company that already uses Google’s services like YouTube, Adwords or even Analytics. The system is maintained on cloud servers, ensuring that it works quickly while data is stored in a safe environment.
Cloud computing offers businesses the opportunity to leverage services that used to cost a fortune and needed to be run in house. This means more time to focus on the things that matter – growing and developing your business.