The best thing for small business since the development of desk top accounting software software. Cloud computing can give you access to your business data and applications from anywhere at anytime from any mobile device, at a reasonable price. The cloud gives small businesses access to technologies that previously were out of their reach and lets them compete with both other small businesses and larger ones.
Today many desktop application are no longer being develop or upgraded. Instead applications are now hosted on a server somewhere and can be access simply by using any browser or an apps in your mobile device. Many accounting software vendors no longer have desktop software offerings - they have moved their products to the cloud and offer inexpensive, online subscription-based services that are ideal for small businesses. For around $10/month vendors such as Quickbooks and Zoho offer cloud-based starter packages suitable for consultants and sole proprietors including invoicing, expense tracking, and simple reporting.
Why Cloud Computing Can Save You Money
- No longer a need for dedicated IT staff or consultants to do basic stuff such as install and update software, install and manage email servers and/or file servers, run backups – in cloud computing the business of maintaining the service or application is the responsibility of the cloud vendor, not yours.
- No more expensive software to buy. Besides the convenience of not having to buy software programs and install them on your own servers/computers, using cloud applications instead can be cheaper. Most requires no annual contract and
- Consolidating other services. For instance, Quickbooks allow hundreds of other applications and services common to most small business to integrate with their system and eliminates most data entry. Microsoft's traditional office application suite, which used to be only available in desktop versions costing hundreds of dollars, is now available in a cloud-based version known as Office 365. It is sold by annual subscription and also includes online video conferencing, Skype and instant messaging connectivity, and many other features. More expensive plans include the desktop applications. Office 365 is now outselling the desktop office suite.
- No need to buy servers. File storage, data backup and software programs all take up a lot of space on servers/computers. With cloud computing, you use someone else's servers to store all this data instead, freeing up your in-house computer equipment for other purposes or even letting you get rid of some of it.
- Regularly updated, so you don't have to spend time and money doing it – and giving you the advantage of always having access to an application's latest features and functions.
- Cloud computing allows you and your employees easy access to applications and data from different computers and devices. Since cloud applications are browser-based they are accessible from mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones. For example, cloud-based accounting applications come with Android or Apple compatible mobile applications that allow you to access your accounting data from any mobile device and send invoices, track expenses, etc. on the run.
- Cloud computing lets you start up or grow your small business quickly. It's a lot easier and faster to sign up for a cloud computing application than to buy a server, get it up and running and install software on it. And because you don't need to buy hardware and software, your start up or expansion is cheaper, too.
Cloud Computing Is for Every Small Business
So why aren't you cloud computing already? Oh wait - you probably are. Outlook Online (formerly known as Hotmail), Gmail, and Google Maps are all examples of cloud computing applications that you've probably used at some point or even use regularly.