Cloud technology has revolutionised the way we work in recent years. But more than that, it’s opened up new opportunities for those entrepreneurs who want to set up a business. Cloud technology removes the barriers to entry that used to exist in the form of property requirements and hardware installations and replaces them with easy to access cost-effective business solutions.

Indeed, interest in cloud technology is nothing new; according to Google’s own data (via Google Trends), searches for cloud tech have been on a steady rise for the past five years. But it’s with the increasing number of applications that use of cloud-based tech has really taken off.

In this sense, cloud adoption is making it easier, quicker and cheaper than ever for entrepreneurs to set up new businesses, as well as reducing the amount of time and management required for basic business admin.

Cloud technology and the new business boost

With more than 650,000 new businesses incorporated in 2016, entrepreneurship plays a huge part in Britain’s growing economy.

Go back thirty years, and setting up a new business was a huge logistical challenge. Not only did you need a great idea and the funds to back it, you had to be able to invest in things like an office space, telephone lines and computer networks to get your company off the ground. In doing so, you set your business its first risk right there and then; with the investment in hardware comes the danger that, should the business fail, that investment is lost.

Look ahead to 2017 and beyond, and new business formation has been streamlined by cloud technology. Remote working has been facilitated by the plethora of cloud working tools available – including solutions like Google Drive and collaborative working documents – meaning that entrepreneurs no longer need to invest in a physical office space to be able to employ staff. Cloud communications tools have made it possible for business owners to communicate via a range of platforms, no longer tied to a phone line but able to utilise unified communications solutions like instant messaging, VOIP and mobile devices.

In today’s cloud-thinking world, starting a business has never been easier.

Investing in cloud tech for improved business efficiencies

It’s not just new businesses that benefit from the cloud. With cloud technology at its most secure and widely adopted point, its use to improve efficiencies in a business and to facilitate new working practices is becoming commonplace amongst savvy business owners.

Take, for example, the rising popularity of flexible working. By allowing employees to work in the format most desirable to them – be it flexible working hours or remote working – business owners strive to improve employee satisfaction and with it, productivity.

It’s not uncommon for today’s business to operate across locations, whether that’s multiple offices or simply not having an office at all, instead allowing for employees to work from home.

These flexible, remote working conditions are only made possible when cloud technology is in use. And with the advantages of flexible working including improved productivity, increased engagement and better staff retention, savvy business owners are seeing cloud investment as a no-brainer.

Cloud-based solutions also reduce the time required to manage business operations. For example, a cloud-based accounting system such as Xero makes management of employee expenses, and the resulting tax management, a much more streamlined task.

Security and cloud technology

Security has historically been the most common objection to cloud technology in businesses. With vast improvements made to the security of the cloud, though, it’s fast becoming the most secure platform for businesses to manage their communications, maintain their records and keep documentation and information safe.

The major benefit of cloud-based working is that the security vulnerabilities of the cloud have, and continue to be, so strictly monitored that any potential flaw is spotted and resolved, usually before most people are aware of it. Cloud-based business solutions are tested vehemently, with hackers employed solely to try to ‘break’ the system and therefore protect it against any real-life risk.

What’s next for cloud technology?

Cloud technology is really only in its infancy. The scope of what can be achieved when we take advantage of the cloud is yet to be fully explored, but with innovations being made almost daily, we can be sure of its continued growth into 2018 and beyond.

Today, technology has made it possible for us to set up a business in half an hour or less. Simply sign up for a cloud-based accounting system and the need for on-site or external support is negated. Choose a cloud-based communications platform and all of your telephony – and other comms – needs are addressed.

Essentially, there’s no excuse for small businesses to be relying on poor internal processes. In communications and beyond, savvy business owners will do well to invest in those tools and technologies which improve their efficiencies, security and, ultimately, satisfaction.