Focus on Small Business

Top 5 cloud benefits for small businesses

Adapted from Talking Business, August 22, 2013

Why should small businesses join the cloud revolution?

Cloud computing allows your business to stay flexible in today’s ever changing business market, it reduces IT management and lowers costs. In this article we’ll tell you about 5 benefits to consider as you review cloud computing for your business.

In many respects, small businesses stand to benefit the most from cloud-based technologies. Facing tough budget constraints, it has not always been easy for start-ups and even established small firms to take advantage of information technology. But all this has changed with the advent of the cloud. Working in conjunction with a third-party specialist, small businesses now have every opportunity to add value with IT.

Benefit 1: Affordability

Utilizing cloud based business solutions is a great way to help reduce the technology costs for a small businesses. With cloud services, you have low up-front costs, with reduced hardware, software, maintenance, and management costs.

Benefit 2: Flexibility

Another advantage for small businesses using the cloud is the abundance of third party services hosted in the cloud. Small businesses are able to use the latest solutions available for their industry. Cloud vendors are naturally inclined to offer market-leading technologies to customers - if they don't, then end-users will simply move to a rival provider who does. This means that, despite being a subscriber rather than an 'IT owner', small businesses can use advanced solutions which would previously have been out of their price range. This is further helping to level the playing field with larger businesses, giving small firms the chance to be more competitive.

Benefit 3: Security
Cloud providers, such as Microsoft, take every precaution where security is concerned. These companies invest heavily guarding their IT infrastructure, ensuring every effort is made to fend off online attacks. Each small business that runs its own IT infrastructure in-house is responsible for IT security, and as a standalone firm, they do not benefit from economies of scale. Can a small company, operating in isolation, afford to spend as much on security solutions as a cloud provider with thousands of customers? In almost every instance, the answer to this question is a resounding no.

Benefit 4: Agility
Cloud services can help small businesses become more agile, with employees freed up to work from various locations, not merely in the office. Small businesses can have access to a full range of integrated software, services and devices that deliver seamless collaboration and flexible productivity when your people are working away from the office. For example with Microsoft Windows Phone 8, and Office 365, they can access documents and edit them using the very same productivity tools that they would use in the office. As well as email, they can also access instant messaging, and video conferencing for scheduled meetings or just to get quick answers that support the customer or an important business decision.

Benefit 5: Continuity
In the cloud age, it is easy to back up important files, documents and data online, which can be a life-saver for small businesses in the event of some form of disaster. In the event of fire, flood, and technology breakdown or hardware theft - indeed any event which prevents the company from accessing its premises or IT - key information is still available online. It can be accessed from any location with an internet connection, providing the person accessing it has the necessary administration rights and password.

Additional information and resources on Microsoft Cloud services
Microsoft has cloud services designed with small businesses in mind. Available on a subscription basis, Office 365 enables any company to scale its resources and manage expenses, with a set of pay-as-you-go, easy-to-use Web-enabled tools. Another cloud based tool from Microsoft is Microsoft Dynamic’s CRM. Customers are the lifeblood of any business, and long-lasting customer relationships are vital to sustained success. Redefine and increase sales performance. Resolve customer issues and create customer loyalty. This content was adapted from Talking Business

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Focus on Small Business disclaimer: All documents and related graphics are provided "AS IS" without warranty of any kind. The inclusion of any link does not imply endorsement by Microsoft of the linked site.  Complete information is available on the Microsoft - Information on Terms of Use page.

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Article ID: 2925255 - Last Review: 5 Mar 2014 - Revision: 1

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