Cloud computing is a term you may well have heard a lot over the past few years, even if it might very likely sound a bit ‘out there’ still. For many, the cloud is something that does not seem to apply directly to everyday working life. What is interesting, however, is that even if you are not aware just how much of your life is on the cloud, you are already most likely using many products that are. Web-based email such as Gmail, file sharing services such as Dropbox and Google Drive – even those fun photo sharing website such as Picassa are all cloud-based tools that are found in most homes and businesses around the world. Simply put, the cloud is a virtual space that allows you to store documents and data securely in a remote location, rather than a file on your desktop. This data can also be accessed, changed, added to and deleted with ease, all from your central dashboard. In this way, you do not need to worry about hosting costs or risks – instead, your data will always be available on the cloud. Now that you understand how it all works, how do you know whether this option is a good fit for your business? It’s all fine and dandy to consider things in ‘virtual’ terms, but putting your precious documents and sensitive files into the abyss can be rather daunting. Before you make any decisions, stop for a moment and consider these basic facts about cloud computing.
Understanding the Basics of Cloud Computing
There are many myths and misconceptions floating around when it comes to cloud computing, if you will pardon the pun. Many people worry about privacy, safety, accessibility and logistics to name but a few concerns. To put your mind at ease, here are some of the most commonly asked questions relating to this type of data management:
- How safe is my data? Safety is a major concern, and for good reason. Data is a big deal after all, and protecting your company information is vital. The good news is that modern solutions are designed with security in mind. A cloud hosted document solution for example has a range of permission settings that help you decide who can access information, in addition to password protection, encryption and even backup storage to cover you during any shortages or system fails.
- What is the main benefit of this option? Without a doubt, most companies find that the accessibility aspect is a major benefit for cloud-based solutions. Being able to access a document within seconds, through an online dashboard that can be used from any computer or device is of course a huge benefit for many reasons. Mobility helps to ensure fewer interruptions in business flow, while also making things far more organised too. As key employees can access any given document, work does not need to come to a halt if a file/person/document is not instantly available.
- What about collaboration? This is another benefit of cloud computing. With project teams of all sizes, working together on any project can be a big challenge. In the world before virtual documents, this meant a great deal of messy paperwork and way too many files. In today’s world, it means savvy user permissions and an ability to work on any project from any computer, anywhere in the world. This is a great thing for deadlines, costs as well as efficiency, allowing work to get done simpler and faster. Clients can even be updated in real time thanks to collaboration in virtual documents.
- Can this really have an impact on sales? Absolutely. If your clients and employees are on the same page of the proverbial book, with projects managed smartly, deadlines being met and documents easily accountable and accessible, business can’t help but do well too. You will save plenty of time during the client relations process too, without the obstacles of a traditional ‘work space’.
- Will the cloud help me keep me updated and be on the ball? Another resounding yes – showing that your company is using updated technology is a good way to show that you are ahead of the competition too. This is good news for sourcing new clients and for retaining current clients, who are of course also impressed with your organised approach to work. A flexible company is one that will continue to prosper, after all.
Hopefully by now you will have fewer doubts about making a move to a simpler approach, allowing your company to enjoy a host of benefits offered by cloud computing.