Cloud computing is quickly becoming the new normal, but many people still don’t quite understand what the term “cloud” means and how using cloud-based software can help your business grow and succeed. In reality, we all use cloud-based systems everyday – from email to Facebook and pretty much anytime we open an app on our phone.
Cloud-based software is simply software that uses the internet to access and store data. Rather than storing all your data on a physical server located somewhere in your business that requires computers to be directly connected to your server’s network to access the data, cloud computing enables unlimited users to access the cloud server and it’s data from wherever they are.
The benefits of cloud computing are obvious, and if you have invested a lot of time and resources into a physical system, it may be difficult to take the leap into the cloud. Here are several ways the cloud can help you grow your business effectively and efficiently without major capital investment.
The cloud is built to grow with you, and you can easily add users as you add new employees. It works with the equipment you already have, and doesn’t require huge capital expenditures on new equipment.
Most cloud-based systems operate on a subscription-based model based on the number of users you have or the amount of data you store. You have the ability scale up or down based on your usage and needs.
Because everything is stored in the cloud, updating the software is hassle-free. The software supplier is responsible for rolling out updates across the system, and you don’t have to worry about doing this yourself, or paying someone else to update your server for you.
This is worth noting especially when it comes to security – building and maintaining your own network and server that is secure and reliable can be difficult and costly to maintain. With cloud-based software, your software supplier will be able to make any necessary security updates in the cloud, automatically rolling it out to all users in real-time.
One of the greatest benefits of the cloud is the ability to work from anywhere and have immediate access to whatever you need to do your job. For restoration companies, this enables project managers and technicians to upload documents and input data on-site, and that information is then available back at the office and to whomever else is working the job.
Working in the cloud encourages better tracking of expenditures, project notes, and document control. Everything has its place, and everyone knows where to find it.
Working in the restoration business, we are acutely more aware of the need to backup and recover data in emergency situations. However, while often forged with good intentions, many businesses that rely on a local server do not have any sort of remote backup available, and this puts their business at serious risk of losing all their data if a flood or fire or other emergency occurs and causes physical damage to the hardware.
With the cloud, everything is automatically backed up and stored remotely, making disaster recovery a core part of the cloud. Your data will be protected, even if your business suffers a disaster.
Finally, working in the cloud can reduce your carbon footprint by reducing both your paper consumption as well as your energy consumption. You only use as much energy as you need, and having all your documents and data accessible digitally means less printing.