How Did Business Survive Without Cloud Computing?

It’s fairly clear from most business publications and news reports that the clouds on the economic horizon aren’t going anywhere fast.  One cloud that most businesses can benefit from are the latest innovations in Cloud computing.  If you haven’t yet discovered the sheer joy of this latest technology it’s about time.  If you have, you’ll probably agree that it’s one of those technologies, like TV, that it is hard to imagine how we ever lived without.

So what is Cloud Computing?

For the uninitiated and possibly slightly scared, cloud computing is a relatively simple concept to grasp.  The chances are that you’ve already used it without realizing.  ‘Hotmail’ is basically a primitive form of cloud computing.  Your data is stored ‘elsewhere’ on remote servers.  ‘Hotmail’ users will be familiar with being able to access emails from any computer, anywhere in the world.

That, pared down, is cloud computing.  Of course, there is a bit more to it.  Cloud computing allows you to remotely host just about any software and services on your PC, MAC, laptop and phone.  Files are synched, software updated, records stored – all remotely and with access from whatever device you have to hand.  For businesses of any size cloud computing offers massive benefits, but for small businesses it’s a powerful solution that can solve a host of problems.

File sharing software

‘Dropbox’ is a well-known file sharing software program.  You simply drop your files in and they’re accessible anywhere in the world.  Don’t panic; competitors and their admin assistants can’t get at them, they do require passwords and permissions.  Alongside the basic access control you can also set editing permissions.  Important documents that need the input of colleagues can be accessed when and where they’re needed.  Unlike email, it’s a far more secure process and as changes are made they’re automatically updated on linked files on your computer.  So even if you and your staff are scattered across the world you can be sure you’re all singing from the same hymn sheet, or re-writing it as you go along.

Accounting software

Online accounting software is another, rather wonderful, development in the cloud computing world.  You can acquire packages to suit any size of business.  Perhaps the particular advantage to this type of software is that changes and upgrades to the software will be automatic – particularly important to ensure that the correct calculations are taking place.  For small businesses keeping track of changes to Tax regulations and VAT changes can be a recipe for sleepless nights.

Even with a good accountant and reliable desktop software this can be a time consuming part of running your own business.  With online accounting software, this nightmare is one that can be avoided.  The added advantage is that your accounts, invoices, payroll and client lists are all securely stored, backed up and accessible – whatever your office PC tries to do to them.  In the event of computing disasters, especially for small businesses, this is something that can be a lifesaver for your company.

Bespoke systems

Cloud computing packages and software can be purchased to suit individual needs.  Online accounting software offers flexibility and simplicity.  Accounts are available as and when needed and your accountant can have instant access to professional accounts which can save time for them and money for you.  Bespoke, tailored cloud packages offer the best solution for small businesses, allowing you to design a system that will suit your needs.  If you haven’t yet discovered the joys of online accounting software and other cloud solutions this could be a good time to start.  You’ll soon be wondering how you lived without them.

Neil blogs about small business and entrepreneurism, on everything from payroll software to digital marketing.  When he’s not online he enjoys taking to his bicycle to visit the sights of his favourite towns.

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