Cloud Computing: A Small Business Guide

2014-11-28 18:37:18

In today's ever-changing business climate, it's critical that small business owners get what they need right when they need it. Whether they're on their computers, tablets or mobile phones, it's more important than ever for businesspeople to have information right at their fingertips, wherever they are. This is exactly the convenience that cloud computing provides.


What is Cloud Computing?


For small and midsize businesses (SMBs), the benefits of cloud computing are endless.?Cloud computing?saves businesses time and money by boosting productivity, improving collaboration and promoting innovation. Cloud hosting facilitates all types of information-sharing, such as email services, application hosting, Web-based phone systems, data storage and more.


Who Uses Cloud Computing?


Cloud computing is used by everyone from individuals to private and public organizations, including educational systems and governments. In business, cloud systems are used by organizations of all shapes and sizes, from small businesses to multinational corporations.


Businesses use?cloud computing?to access information anywhere using any compatible device. Unlike storing information on your computer or a server in your office, cloud computing stores data on the Internet. It works by making information available from a central Web-based hub that gives anyone with proper credentials access from any location with an Internet connection. Cloud computing also syncs data for all devices connected to the cloud, keeping them updated with real-time information.


In the cloud environment, users can access all types of files, use applications as though they were in the office, and even collaborate remotely while working on the same project or presentation on their device as someone on the other side of the globe. Even if you're away from work or your office server is inaccessible, data in the cloud is always up-to-date and always available wherever, whenever.

Cloud-computing services can range from data storage to functional programs, including accounting, customer-service tools and remote desktop hosting.


According to a study by Neovise, an IT research firm that focuses on cloud technology, 54 percent of organizations use cloud computing. Of these organizations, 74 percent use some combination of different types of clouds, with 40-50 percent of them using multiple services of the same type of cloud.


How Does Data Stay Safe in the Cloud?

Cloud safety is all about finding the right vendors and implementing technology that focuses on both identity verification and data encryption.

“Businesses need to understand that?data safety?doesn’t just happen on its own,” said Helen Ching, founder of Cloud Launch One, a cloud consulting and services firm. This means that businesses need to be strategic in adopting security systems, such as by authenticating devices connected to the cloud and the identity of the person using it.


One way to protect sensitive information is to encrypt data as it enters, leaves and rests in the cloud, Ching suggested. This can be done by leveraging DLPs, or Data Loss Prevention tools, which monitor data leakage and ensure the secure transportation of data to and from the cloud.