Cloud computing is a relatively new buzzword in the world of technology, but it’s had a massive effect on SMBs (small and medium-sized businesses). In the first quarter of 2020, worldwide companies spent $31 billion on cloud services – 34% more than the same period in 2019.
There are undoubtedly plenty of benefits to using the cloud for your business. While you might already be using cloud computing for activities like storage, that’s certainly not all you can do in the cloud. There are thousands of options for bringing all of your usual paper and pen or desktop-based apps online.
What is the Cloud?
Essentially, the cloud includes software and services that run over the internet rather than locally. This means that you don’t have to handle all of your own software and storage.
The cloud is accessible anywhere and at any time. It’s often used for file storage, data backup, and infrastructure as a service (IaaS), but has multiple other uses beyond that as well. If you’re using the cloud for any part of your business, it’s important to have excellent cloud security to ensure your information is being kept safe.
6 Top Business Activities to Bring into the Cloud
Did you know that your finances can be managed through the cloud? In fact, managing your accounting through the cloud is far more effective – for you and your customers. Since the data is accessible from any device with an internet connection, you can stay connected to your accounting data and get real-time updates. You won’t have to install and run a massive program on a single computer anymore. Plus, your customers can typically use online tools like Stripe or PayPal to pay you, which means you’ll get paid faster.
Your business relies on great customer service to keep people coming back. With many of our usual in-person touchpoints with customers moving online (especially in light of COVID-19), you’ll want to consider what you can do for your customers on the cloud. Some options include having a user app, live chat, or analytics application. It’s important to consider 24/7 customer service too – after all, the internet is always there! Some options for this may be automation or AI for your website, social media, or online shop, so you can always be there to answer customer questions.
The virtualization of teams is another major reality SMBs are coming to grips with in the COVID-19 era. The need for collaboration, productivity tools like spreadsheets, and development platforms create a lot of extra work on your end. However, by using the cloud for project management, all of these factors become far easier to handle. If you can’t meet with your team in person, using the cloud for a project ensures that you can communicate properly.
There are plenty of cloud-managed project management options for different industries and needs. It’s always a good idea to check with your managed service provider to see how a project management software could connect with your other cloud apps to provide a seamless user experience.
All of the online marketing you do qualifies as ‘cloud marketing,’ whether it’s a blog, social media post, digital ad, or another form of media. However, you can also add other cloud-based tools to help manage your marketing. Schedulers, metric software, and research programs can help you improve your SEO, connect directly with your intended audience, and continually improve your marketing to get more ROI out of every online interaction.
Cloud HR software provides businesses with far simpler ways to carry out regular tasks like payroll management and benefits administration. The ease of implementation also makes it appealing; rather than having to install expensive software and perform extensive updates, installing or migrating takes mere minutes. Plus, having cloud HR software gives you more flexibility. HR personnel can now respond to any request, at any place and time.
Using the cloud for your sales has plenty of benefits. In a time where efficiency is the norm, the cloud offers a quick and effective way to sell. The massively increased accessibility means that both you and the customer can access products or data at any time or place. Many of the most reputable mobile apps for sales teams are accessible using Software as a Service (SaaS), so the cloud is certainly the place you want to be. Again, be sure to ask your IT professional or managed service provider about options you may not have considered.
Find an IT and Cyber Security Manager You Can Trust
One of the most crucial parts of moving your business into the cloud is ensuring your business and data remain safe and efficient. At Alt-Tech, we’re dedicated to making sure your technology runs as smoothly as possible, and your data is secure. Contact us today to find out how we can support your business in the new age of virtualization.