Does anything tie up your time, money and mental bandwidth as much as technology? You didn’t start your business to spend nearly every waking — and often sleeping — moment dealing with the complexities of the computers, software, networks and other devices that are necessary to run it.
Many small businesses are alleviating this burden with cloud computing. Investing in the right combination of cloud software and services not only helps streamline daily operations, it can also tighten security and improve your bottom line.
As the Advisory Services Manager for Microsoft Office 365 at Rackspace, I help customers move their businesses to the cloud. When I speak to them about making the transition, these are the four most compelling reasons I offer for doing so:
1. You’ll save money
The barrier of entry to quality products to run your business has been a problem for a long time. For example, to get a single tool you have to acquire hardware, software and installation assistance for an on-prem solution with a massive upfront cost that is often cost prohibitive for an SMB. With monthly subscription fees for Office 365, you get to eliminate that upfront cost and leverage the best-of-breed, always up-to-date suite of services rather than just one tool.
Cloud service providers, on the other hand, offer pay-per-user plans that can scale according to your business needs. Add users as your business grows, and if a new hire doesn’t work out, just disable their account and cut that cost.
You’ll also save on other capital expenses. By moving some of your infrastructure to the cloud, you’ll reduce the costs of IT equipment, upgrades and support. And because the service provider takes care of the back end, you save both the money and time required for doing your own IT maintenance.
2. Your employees will work better together
If your business primarily collaborates via email, you’re well aware of the pitfalls. It’s a time-consuming chore to manage workflows and track approvals. Poor version control makes locating final documents seem like an impossible task. And interminable email threads bog down the entire process.
Software-as-a-Service (SaaS)-based tools remove these headaches so your team works together more efficiently.
Features like document sharing and real-time editing make collaboration a snap. Multiple people can work simultaneously on a single master document, eliminating the need to maintain multiple copies. Changes made by one author are instantly visible to everyone else. And integrated chat tools ensure communication between collaborators is simple and immediate.
3. You’ll get anytime, anywhere access to your data
The lightning-quick pace of business requires you and your employees to access work files from anywhere. That’s tough to do if they’re sitting on someone’s laptop.
The advantage of a cloud solution is that you can get instant access to all of your business’ most important files. You and your employees also get secure access to all your work applications, calendars, and email across all your devices. Approving a document or scheduling a meeting during your child’s soccer game becomes as easy as if you were sitting at your desk.
4. Your data will be more secure
Let’s be honest. You know that backing up your data is critical, but it’s probably one of the first responsibilities to get put on the back-burner by the daily demands of running your own business. It’s a mistake that can cost you dearly.
Data loss prevention is important even (especially) in a small business, where if someone steals your data, you’re out of business pretty quick.
For that reason, cloud services are indispensable. Your data will be automatically backed up off-site, ensuring your files are protected if your business’s primary systems suffer a power outage, natural disaster or egregious human error.
Business-class providers also typically offer comprehensive security, ranging from anti-virus and malware protection to advanced data encryption and feature that help address compliance standards such as HIPAA, PCI and other common regulatory standards.
The benefits of moving to the cloud are indisputable. The right cloud service will provide the agility and flexibility you need to succeed while letting you keep your focus where it belongs — on your business.
Visit Rackspace for more information on moving your business to the cloud with Microsoft Office 365.