Evaluating Cloud Computing Services Use For Small Businesses

Lee Smith Cloud Computing Tags: ,

By now most people have at least heard of cloud computing services in passing, however many may not know just what they really are or what use they can be. For those who are small business owners, it can also seem like something beyond the scope of their company. This may not be the case, however, and simply because it might sound expensive or high-tech does not necessarily mean you should shy away from it.

To get some background out of the way, cloud computing is an expression which can be tagged onto many different ways of networking computers for some common goal. For example, science or engineering firms may use such services to tackle difficult or extremely complex problems. This can cut down on time and also the necessary man power required to keep things progressing for a given project or idea.

For others, it can mean having access to a bank of software or related data across many different machines. This can be useful for those who have multiple business installations across the country or possibly the world. A significant amount of travel can be involved in getting a business of the ground, and so if you have employees moving from place to place then it may be a path for them to stay connected to your company’s network.

Of course you can also use these advantages to better serve clients or customers as well. Some of your business offerings might include access to systems or networks for customers from several different locations. Depending upon the product you are wanting to offer, this may or may not be beneficial. Obviously it must have some digital component that can be relayed through a network.

Keep in mind that digital offerings of some kind are becoming increasingly common even among smaller companies. With the rise of social media and marketing, cloud computing can serve as a step-up in which variations of products or services may be relayed to customers even when they are far and away from your physical business. Something as simple as an e-mail address offering might be facilitated in this way if you like, and there may be several other options as well.

Another possible benefit for you would be backing up a network or system. This is especially possible if you are primarily a web-based company with a site that you do not want to go down. There are infrastructure options with cloud setups that enable your website to update a cloud-based copy from day to day which, in the event of a disruption, goes live to continue serving customers. As your business grows this may become a may attractive option with increasing site traffic.

This may also shorten maintenance times or offer a fall-back option for when a particular update does not work out well. Having a second, up-to-date “ghost” which is effectively a twin of your actual site means you can take risks and test things out before exposing them to customer use. Many sites may have backups that allow them to keep customers satisfied even when primary functions are disabled or being worked on.

Cloud computing services can have a wide variety of uses depending upon your particular industry. Determining just how you can best utilize them will depend upon what products or services you offer, but any business with a serious online component can typically benefit from cloud-based infrastructure. Take a look at your options and the related costs, and remember that you should always aim to put customer needs first.