These days, many companies are finding the benefits of moving to the Internet of Things (IoT) and cloud computing frameworks. As technology advances, these new tools continue to evolve and provide advantages that entrepreneurs can use to grow their businesses to new heights. In the case of cloud computing, the benefits seem like a no-brainer. You have an online network that allows you to eliminate physical offices and work from anywhere.
Although the benefits are clear, many businesses still have concerns about making the transition from traditional IT infrastructure to a new online platform. This is especially true for small business owners who believe they do not have the time or funds to adapt to a new system. Below we will discuss many of the common concerns and some answers that should lead to an easier decision.
As mentioned, cloud computing is continuing to evolve and improve. In 2020, many cloud providers will be looking at quantum computing to make an already efficient service even faster, and with the implementation of cloud centers around the globe, there are now more access points than ever before. Cloud computing is seeing an increase in many different industries, especially those who require information at a moment’s notice.
For instance, the education industry uses these services to create hubs where students can access assignments and notifications from anywhere. In the insurance and real estate industries, cloud computing can provide constantly updated information on current listings and products.
As a small business, this information can be a bit overwhelming, and your first concern may be that it is too much of a hassle to sift through all of the available options to determine which is best for your company. While initially, there may be several options to consider, if you know what you want out of a cloud computing client, you can talk to representatives from your shortlist of companies and ask them directly if they can provide what you need. On top of that, you don’t necessarily have to go to a third party. You may already use a mobile carrier that offers cloud computing services as part of your contract, creating an easy starting point.
Another concern may be that once you select a service, they will set you up and then leave you on your own to figure out what to do next. Luckily, the customer service aspect of cloud companies has also improved over time, with some companies offering plans with four-hour response times. If this is your concern, ask about service packages during your initial conversation with the provider.
Small businesses that have already spent money to create an established data center, physical office, and IT team may fear that switching to an all-new system will be too much for their budgets to take. However, although there may be some costs upfront, over time, the transition could be well worth it. If your company is just getting off the ground, you can allay your initial costs by joining a program like Amazon Activate, which provides credits and technical support as you get started. Beyond that, basic cloud computing services can start at $400 per month once your program is up and running.
So how does cloud computing save you money? Think about the costs associated with running an IT team and what you can eliminate with off-site services. You can reduce the team to only a single person as you will no longer need to update software, fix servers, and backup your data. Why? Because most cloud computing services take care of all of that for you with internal teams, and all at the cost of your monthly payment.
On top of that, with most servers being online, you save space at the office, which can be used more efficiently or eliminated altogether. Not only can you save while reducing existing machines, but you can replace them with cheaper, more streamlined models. Lately, memory and RAM prices have fluctuated, and while the latter is expected to plummet in price into the new year, you cut down further on computer costs by storing data in the cloud.
Cloud computing can also increase workplace productivity. As a small business with a minimal IT team, it can take weeks to introduce new software and work out the kinks so it is ready for use. With cloud services, this same deployment can be done in a matter of hours, which gets your employees working and reduces downtime. Along with this is another valid concern that an exclusively online service is subject to internet outages. This is certainly possible, and you should get information from the provider about how often this occurs and their contingency plans if it does.
Perhaps one of the most common and easy to understand concerns about moving your information to digital spaces is the risk of data being lost or stolen at the hands of cybercriminals. Indeed, cybersecurity continues to be a major concern for those in the IoT space, but as with the other concerns, cloud services continue to improve in this regard. In fact, studies show that as of 2020, companies using the cloud will be 60% less likely to have an incident than those with traditional in-office setups.
This concern is important for all industries, but especially for those who accept and maintain customer data. For them, information leaks can deal a lethal financial blow and permanently destroy their reputation, so in that instance, the cloud may be the way to go. The good news is that in addition to the security provided by the cloud, you can also take simple measures to protect that information.
The most important step is to be selective with who at your company has access to the most pivotal parts of your cloud account, and if an employee is terminated, delete their access immediately. You need a strong password that is not easy to guess and also request that all information is encrypted so it cannot be read if accessed. Finally, run antivirus software on your computers every week to ensure that they are clean and free of malware that cannot be transferred from one server to the other.
In the end, only you can decide if you are ready to transition your small business to the cloud. While there are certainly concerns, the advantages can make the move well worth it.