A small business might start out as a one-person operation on their own computer. But as the business continues to grow and grow, an operational rethink is required. For example, vital files only being accessible to one person could really start to hold your business back. The cloud is a modern solution that provides key foundations for a business to grow up and not be held back by their systems.

So how can the cloud help a small business grow?

Accessibility

To run a successful business, key data needs to be quickly and easily accessible, both on and offline and from multiple devices. The cloud is perfect here. Cloud hosting allows you to have a central cloud-based location where all your files are kept, whether that be Dropbox, Google Drive, OneDrive or something else, so that any employees can access the information they need, from their own device. In these cloud-based filing systems you can also usually set particular documents to be available to certain users offline. That way you’re business won’t get caught out by a lost Wi-Fi connection.

Email in the cloud gives you not only access on any device but also tools such as shared mailboxes, centralised calendars and management. You can benefit from these features that are often found in larger companies and will be well set-up as your company continues to grow. You can enjoy the combination of familiarity along with flexibility.

Reliability

For an SME or startup, things just need to work. You want to focus all of your energy on running your business and not have to worry about your technology letting you down. You need to be able to trust the services are there and working when you need them to be.

Countless businesses large and small rely on the cloud every day. Because all your files are stored there, you don’t need to worry about losing important data if your computer breaks. There are also various features that can help give you peace of mind in this respect. For example, file sync in the cloud gives a cheap insurance policy for document recovery, which could you get out of tricky a situation.

Scalability

You need a platform which will grow with your business, wherever the journey may take you. The cloud is perfect here. As your business grows you can easily invest in more cloud storage so that you always have exactly what you need to run your business at any one time. Unlike with traditional data storage expansion, where you may need extra service space, hardware and maintenance – at vast additional cost – the cloud makes expansion and growth simple and easy.

Collaboration

In this day and age, the ability for you and your team to work together via a digital medium is practically imperative, whatever the size of your business.

Intranets based in the cloud (such as Sharepoint) provide easy document storage and compliance and great central sharing resource. In addition, they can create auto update notices to staff and create audit trails to demonstrate that they have seen that a document has been updated.

Cloud file storage services such as Google Drive also offer a great way for everyone in the team to be able to access and work on the same documents.

These cloud-based forms of collaboration help your company to work flexibly and transparently for optimum efficiency and productivity.

Security

A security advantage of cloud computing is that your data is not located on your premises, so cannot be easily stolen or destroyed. In the cloud, your information is protected from onsite power outages, floods, fires or theft, as well as with encryption methods, anti-virus and other security measures. Cloud companies currently are throwing immense resources at managing the security of cloud computing, so security is only set to keep on improving.

Additional business tools

Many useful cloud tools are available outside of just email, intranet and collaboration. These can make things easier for you and be a great help to your business. For example, Microsoft offers cloud tools such as To-Do for planning your time, or Lens for scanning business cards to Outlook contacts or for recording your expenses. Microsoft also offer a basic CRM as part of their cloud business subscription and booking systems.

These tools save you time and money, while being all under one platform – allowing you to do to what you do best and concentrate on growing your business.

Conclusion

As can be seen, the cloud possesses many advantages that you can utilise to help your company thrive and grow, from reliability to scalability to additional tools. However, it is best to get an IT professional to help you assess your options, pick the right cloud option of you and oversee implementation.