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Concept image for cloud computing with laptop and cloud shapes

As a small business owner, wouldn't it be nice to have the flexibility to work from anywhere, not just at the office? Wouldn't it be even better to do so while saving money and improving collaboration among your employees? If you're enthusiastically nodding your head, then it's time you learn about cloud computing.

This service allows you and your employees to access company files at home or on the go, so you can virtually work from anywhere. Plus, if another shutdown happens as it did with COVID-19, your business can stay operational.

So, why should your small business consider cloud computing resources delivered by a trustworthy managed IT services partner like Computer Services Unlimited? Simple. Our cloud solutions are available for a flat-rate fee, include expert network security, have 24/7 customer service and support, and can be accessed anywhere, day or night. Continue reading to learn more about cloud computing and its benefits to your business.

What is Cloud Computing?

Cloud computing is an always-available connection to programs, data storage, and other computing resources over the Internet. If you or an employee has access to the Internet, a device, and credentials to access your company's files, you can work from home, on the train, on the beach, or nearly any other place you can imagine.

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Learn More About the Cloud

You have likely heard about this mysterious thing called "The Cloud" before, but maybe you never really understood what it meant. And as a savvy business owner, you don't want to involve yourself or your company in anything you don't understand. So, let's dissect a few different definitions related to the cloud:

  • Pure Cloud: All your applications and data storage live in the cloud, which you access through various devices via the Internet. If your company deals with compliance restrictions, like HIPAA, it's not ideal.
  • Hybrid Cloud: Only certain pieces of your IT infrastructure, like storage or email, are in the cloud, and the rest remains on-site at your location.
  • Public Cloud: A service that anyone can use with a network connection, typically in a pay-as-you-go format. Microsoft Azure is an example of a public cloud.
  • Private Cloud: A self-built cloud that is based within your company. If you don't want your data held in a public environment, private is the way to go.

For more information about the cloud, check out our helpful infographic.

What Exactly Are the Benefits of Using the Cloud?

Many small and medium-sized businesses found out from the COVID-19 pandemic that using cloud services is highly beneficial. These services allowed many companies to continue to operate through shutdowns.

Some businesses found it so helpful to their company and employees that they moved to a hybrid model where a few workdays are done from home via the cloud while other workdays are spent at the office.

No matter how you envision remote working through the cloud for your company, there are nine (and possibly more!) significant benefits to choosing cloud services:

1. No Loss of Productivity

Since cloud solutions are internet-based, any employee with a device, internet connection, and log-in credentials can access company documents, data, and software from anywhere at any time as if they were in the office. Having cloud infrastructure in place will help your business be prepared for emergencies like natural disasters and more long-term challenges like a global pandemic.

2. Cost Savings

Internet-based computing means that your business does not have to purchase hardware and software that needs to be maintained, repaired, or replaced. Since your business would not have hardware equipment to house, you can save on physical storage space. Additionally, allowing your employees to work at home further reduces the need to pay for office space and saves you money on things like electricity, paper products, and office supplies.

3. Happier Employees

Many employees are discovering how much easier life is when they are not tied to an office every day and appreciate the flexibility to work wherever is best for them. Happier employees mean greater productivity and job satisfaction, which leads to employee retention and reduction of onboarding costs. Less time lost to commuting and shuttling children to daycare means less stress for the employee and often results in more time spent working.

4. Additional Security

Cloud service providers can offer additional security to protect against security breaches and data loss. Backups are automatic, and data in the cloud is safe from fire and natural disasters. Since data and software don't "live" on hardware, theft and human error are minimized.

5. Flexibility

When you have access to all your company files and programs, it can offer your business the flexibility to grow without physical constraints. You can add new employees without worrying about your office location or limited space—or unexpected quarantines. You can utilize the expertise of specialists or freelancers as needed, and these as-needed workers can use their own equipment—all they would need is log-in credentials.

6. Collaboration

A group of people using cloud computing at a conference room table.Cloud-based operations can offer efficiency because your employees can collaborate on projects regardless of their location—without losing data integrity. Your employees can still work as a team, benefitting from the sort of creativity that comes from sharing ideas. There is no downtime waiting for one person's contribution either. Your team can share changes and additions to projects as they occur. Even more exciting is the possibility of global collaboration as there are no limits to time zones or zip codes.

7. Easier Client Visits

First (and second and third) impressions are crucial to the success of a business, and being prepared for any situation can set you apart from the rest. Using the cloud to access your company files means that you can have all your information at hand to showcase what you have to offer or answer any questions your client may have. There's no worrying about remembering to bring binders and folders when everything you need is easily accessed on your laptop or other mobile devices.

8. Smaller Carbon Footprint

Cloud computing could reduce your business's carbon footprint, which will have long-lasting benefits for everyone. Not having an in-house data center means that no energy is needed to cool the hardware. Additionally, no resources were required to build the hardware, and no fuel was needed to transport it to your office.

As more employees can work from home, office space can be reduced (or perhaps even eliminated), which lowers the need for additional energy for utilities and in-office resources. Remote work also lessens the fuel used for your employees' commuting.

9. Scalability

As a small business owner, you have visions and dreams for your company's future but are also concerned about costs. With cloud services, you have virtually no limits on how large you can scale your business, and when you work with CSU, our cloud solutions are available for a flat-rate fee.

You adjust the amount of cloud storage and capabilities as required. And if your company decides to pivot, your cloud services can shift with you. With cloud solutions, you are in control of what you need, when you need it.

Understanding Types of Cloud Services

One final topic to understand about the cloud is the types of cloud computing services. For example, here at CSU, we provide Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), which offers pay-as-you-go access to IT assets like servers, virtual machines, cloud storage, networks, and operating systems. Other types of services include:

  • Software as a Service (SaaS): Gives users access to cloud-based apps, like email, calendars, and document processing tools in addition to services, storage, and security.
  • Platform as a Service (PaaS): Allows employees to use development tools, database management, and business analytics, as well as operating systems, servers, data storage, and firewall security.
  • Serverless Computing: Lets developers build applications faster because they don't need to manage infrastructure. The cloud service provider allocates, scales, and manages the IT infrastructure required to run the code.

Ready to Experience All the Benefits that Come with Cloud Solutions? Contact CSU Today!

With a basic understanding of what the cloud is and how it can significantly benefit your business, now is the perfect time to get started with cloud services for your business! Computer Services Unlimited can help you decide which cloud platforms best suit your needs now—and as your business grows.

Contact us for your FREE 30-Minute Network Audit and consultation regarding how we can help your company continue to thrive using cloud-based solutions.