When most people think about the benefits of cloud computing, the first thing that comes to mind is saving time and money. While it’s true that businesses will save time and money when switching to the cloud, the cloud also has the potential to change the way you do business on a daily basis.
According to a study done by consulting firm Emergent Research and the company Intuit, the percentage of U.S. small businesses using cloud computing is expected to increase by more than double during the next six years. Currently 37 percent of businesses use cloud computing, with projections rising to nearly 80 percent. Widespread adoption of cloud computing is projected to have a transformative effect on not only small businesses, but on large corporations as well.
One of the biggest impacts cloud computing will have on businesses in the next few years is the ability to employee a mobile workforce. Businesses will easily be able to operate with employees in different locations. This allows companies to have flexible staff levels. What we’re seeing is the cloud in enabling a model that allows a team to form up, accomplish a task, and then de-form. People are able to pool their resources together and work in a shared workspace.
More Productive Employees
Having workspace applications available on cellphones, laptops, and tablets allows mobile workers to remain productive while on the go. Utilizing cloud applications enables employees to respond to business needs in a timely manner and to remain competitive. Providing a mobile workforce with the tools needed to be productive outside the traditional office setting helps them to be more efficient, while helping the company to gain more visibility to better manage costs and activities.
Increased Visibility and Streamlined Processes
Cloud computing services not only benefit workers, but they also support internal departments, such as finance, accounting, and human resources. With cloud technology, accounting professionals gain increased visibility into employee business expenses, facilitating a greater insight into employee spending patterns. This visibility enables companies to take the steps necessary to reduce overall expenses. Cloud services can also help streamline processes such as submitting expense reports and vendor communications, because all of the information is available from any device.
Lack of cloud computing services can also negatively affect the ability to properly staff the business. Having a mobile workforce enabled by cloud applications lets managers complete reports and process approvals during downtime. Normal activities like waiting to board an airplane, waiting for a meeting to start, or riding in a taxi are now turned into uptime, instead of downtime since key administrative tasks can be accomplished on the go.
Conduct Business Internationally
It wasn’t many years ago that only the large enterprises had the capacity to operate business internationally. To run a global business, large network systems were required. Now, even the smallest businesses can conduct business around the world from sourcing parts from China to selling products in Europe. As cloud computing grows, the ability to expand corporations internationally will grow as well.
A mobile workforce is beneficial to the company, but it’s also a plus for employees. Going to work no longer means sitting at a desk in an office space with hundreds of other people all day long. Collaborative work, sharing documents, and even holding meetings can all be done via the cloud.
Every member of the staff can save and access important files and work on a project simultaneously, without stepping foot into a physical office. From an administrative point of view, businesses can implement permission controls, to keep processes and policies in place.
There are many fears and concerns over security when it comes to cloud computing, but the fact is that cloud services reduce the risk of security failures. Backing up data can happen in real time, instead of at a facility offsite. In many respects, cloud computing is more secure than traditional IT infrastructures and has the potential to reduce hackers or viruses from attacking your data.
To increase your data security odds when using the cloud, keep a few tips in mind:
- Always use a strong password
- Employ encryption
- Know your cloud service provider
- Read your user agreement
For those not using cloud computing, the lesson is simple. In six years, 80 percent of competing business will adopt some form of cloud computing. Those who don’t adopt cloud computing will put their businesses at risk for falling behind.