These days, it is hard to read about corporate computing and not hear about "the cloud."
Whenever a new technology term comes along, most small businesses feel that it is automatically something that they cannot afford. The truth is that if you can find a good cloud provider, then your small business can save a lot of money on computing costs that used to be mandatory not too long ago.
One of the things that makes cloud computing accessible to all businesses and turns the cloud into a viable business option is the significant improvements made to Internet and computing security. It used to be that Internet security was unreliable and unpredictable. But with the ways in which software security companies have been able to improve firewalls and anti-virus programs, the security on the Internet has been much improved.
The cloud is a general term used for any third-party provider of computer application software. The way it works is that you would pay a monthly subscription fee for each user that will access your Internet account. The cloud provider has a secure facility that houses a huge depot of servers that carry every kind of computing application your company would ever need.
The applications include spreadsheets, word processors, presentation software and database software. Your subscription costs are based only on what you use. Rather than loading software on to your individual computers, all you would need to do is give each computer Internet access and it can use your cloud access to get to those applications.
The first major cost that the cloud saves you is on the costs of application licensing. Before the cloud, if you wanted to put 1,000 people on a software application then you needed to purchase 1,000 user licenses. With the cloud, you no longer need to do that. You only pay when you need to use the software and you can add as many users as you want.
This also saves you money when it comes time to upgrade your user licenses to the newest version of the software.
A cloud computing setup can save you money on networking costs as well. Before the cloud, if you wanted to network your office, you need to invest in networking equipment, servers, cabling, installation charges and software. Not only that, but you also needed to maintain a staff to help make sure that your network was always working properly.
With the cloud, all you need is company-wide Internet access and you have your network in place. All of your computers can access the same applications and you can send company-wide messages through any online messaging service that you choose. Your company would no longer need to invest in any networking equipment at all. You could save your company thousands of dollars every month by avoiding the costs of network maintenance and network technicians.
The cloud is something that was designed for small businesses to utilize. If you want to save your company a lot of money on computer operations but still have the convenience of a company-wide network, then you need to get set up with a cloud account as soon as possible.
Jan Kantor is a Southwest Florida business consultant and executive coach. For more information, or to contact him regarding workplace solutions, his website is www.jankantor.com.