Undoubtedly, businesses are increasingly moving to the cloud. In fact, global cloud spending is set to grow 17% in 2020, to $266 billion, and will top $350 billion by 2022.
For small businesses, cost savings has been viewed as the main advantage of moving data to the cloud. A 2018 study in the Journal of Strategic Innovation and Sustainability found that cloud computing can drastically reduce smaller firms’ capital investment in hardware and software while also cutting bills for software licenses, electricity, maintenance, upgrades and support.
Other well-known benefits of moving data to the cloud include making data accessible to any device, from anywhere and at any time.
But these commonly known benefits aren’t the only reason small companies should consider moving their data to the cloud. Here are five lesser-known benefits that small businesses discover:
1. Access control
Most cloud storage platforms, whether Dropbox or Google Drive, allow you to easily control who—inside or outside your organization—can access various documents and files, while turning that access on and off. Simon Hansen, founder of homebrew and winemaking blog HomeBrewAdvice, says this feature was one additional benefit his company discovered after it moved data to the cloud, and that it reduces the risk that someone who shouldn’t see a document will see it.
2. Easier data backup
Cloud backup software such as Carbonite and iDrive will automatically back up your data to the cloud on a regular basis, so you don’t have to do it manually. “Using cloud backup software is very simple,” says Jim Crook, senior director of marketing for New York-based edge-to-cloud file services provider CTERA. “It runs in the background. You set it and forget it and don’t need to do anything else.”
3. Stronger cybersecurity
Businesses can use firewalls and antivirus software to protect data stored on their premises. But it’s much harder to protect that data when it’s accessed by, say, someone’s smartphone from their home network, notes Luca Jacobellis, president of Atlanta-based small business managed IT services provider Onepath. One benefit of the cloud is that data can be securely stored online using the cybersecurity measures provided by the cloud provider. That means businesses can give mobile and remote workers access to data on their own devices without compromising security.
4. Simpler administration
When files are kept centrally in a cloud-based repository, you can more easily ensure that the most recent versions of those files are being used and worked off of. Centralized data storage can also help to provide a one-stop place to keep and organize files that might otherwise be kept on multiple employees’ computer hard drives, Crook adds.
5. Business continuity
When employees unexpectedly have to work from home, the ability to access data remotely becomes essential to keeping the business operational. For that reason, cloud computing can become “a big part of small business continuity planning,” Crook says.
Ultimately, every small business will realize a different mix of benefits from cloud computing, and additional benefits may include enhanced collaboration and reduced carbon footprint. What’s important is that businesses consider the full range of potential advantages to moving to the cloud—and not just the obvious ones.Print this article