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Cloud computing has become an excellent platform for small businesses looking to cut costs.
Google’s vast array of cloud services includes Gmail, Google Docs, YouTube and Analytics, which are all helpful tools for website owners. Amazon offers “Elastic Compute Cloud” (EC2) services in which web developers pay as they compute in the cloud. Some of the top cloud services are offered by Google and Amazon.
Why the Cloud Isn’t Going Away
It’s possible to run an entire business in the cloud at a fraction of the cost of running a brick and mortar operation. In fact, part of the reason you might keep seeing bookstores go out of business is because it costs less to sell books through Amazon.
The greatest advantage of the cloud is that it can replace expensive office and storage space, not to mention it can cut down on paper costs and environmental waste. All most businesses need to operate these days is dedicated internet access and a little bit of web savvy.
The cloud is useful to businesses whose employees use various types of software but don’t want to spend money on a separate software license for each user.
With a little finessing, this network system allows multiple users to access the same software program, which is just one of many ways this revolutionary form of digital business is cutting costs. Another advantage to the cloud is that it allows you to outsource work to people all over the world (Deloitte 11). It can truly bring a global identity to your business, especially if you run a website with content creators from different countries.
Popular Cloud Services
Dropbox is one of the most popular cloud services. It allows you to store projects such as websites that can be accessed by collaborators. It’s an efficient way to build a website, especially if a team is involved to upload a massive amount of content.
The cloud hosts several software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications, which eliminate the need to buy any hardware or software at all; the only thing you need to access your information, is an internet connection and a password. Since the applications are entirely online, it is easier for non-IT employees to access and even backup your important data, while making it harder for them to cause any errors.
Salesforce.com offers SaaS applications that can analyze your data and provide expert sales help.
QuickBooks is another SaaS application, which allows you to do all your accounting in the cloud.
Your website is almost always hosted by a cloud computing service already, which can handle many of your tasks at lower costs. Anything involving communication, whether it’s faxing or email or scanning and storing documents digitally, can be done by a cloud service.
One of the biggest savings a cloud service can offer is to be your IT staff. The cloud service can handle all your online security issues at a fraction of the cost. The search often is the hardest part.
How to Add Software
The combination of the cloud and business software helps you run a smooth operation. OfficeTime is a program that records billable time during working hours and generates invoices. Adobe FormsCentral is low cost software that helps you create interactive forms for your websites and collect data from your customers.
DocuSign Pro is software for facilitating electronic signatures online. AdobeConnect is a web conferencing platform with multiple ways to communicate with business partners and clients.
The classic saying that location is the most important aspect of business is being transformed by the fact that mobile internet is becoming increasingly popular especially with local businesses.
Customers can now find businesses faster when they are on the go using mobile devices. Even more powerful is the concept that a business can now be run from any mobile location. A smart phone can now function as a remote control device for running a business, especially if the business is hosted on a cloud server.
Since social networks, mobile internet and cloud computing have all gained enormous popularity in recent years, a new buzz word combining all three technologies is “SoMoClo.” This developing combination is revolutionizing business to be more productive and efficient.