7 benefits of moving your data to the cloud as a small business

[fa icon="calendar"] Apr 3, 2018 10:52:31 AM / by Nick Rowan

Cloud storage has been around for more than 15 years (ancient in internet years). This is great for you as a small business owner because there are tons of cheap cloud storage solutions like Google Drive, iCloud, or OneDrive. You can take advantage of cloud storage options that are specialized and safe. Yet it is surprising that some businesses are still hesitant to jump on the bandwagon.

But for some business owners it can be intimidating to cede control of your most sensitive information to a third party. Even though 70% believe it is more secure than legacy systems or local storage, there are still some stragglers. They are more inclined to store most of their documents and files on a hard-drive, whether it be a trust issue or basic inertia.

If you are one of the few that are hesitant to make the switch, take a moment to learn more about the benefits that await when switching from local to the cloud. Maybe it’ll change your mind.


Accessibility

Having all of your employees working in a traditional office is becoming increasingly rare. In 2017, 43% of Americans spent at least some of their time working remotely, and that number is only going to go up. Not only that but if you are largely on your own, you will need to be on the move a lot. Small business doesn't have the luxury of large offices.

As a result, if you aren’t on site or constantly with your own laptop, you won’t have access to any local files (or vice-versa), severely limiting your ability to get any work done.

Sure, you can email documents back and forth, but think about the hundreds of times a document is edited throughout its lifetime. Client lists, product descriptions, and sales material can often be updated several times a day. Keeping track of that easily spins out of control without one source of truth.

Cloud storage means that you and your employees will have access to your files whenever and wherever they need it. One study found that this streamlining of file management led to as much as a 400% increase in productivity.

Collaborating has never been easier (and more profitable) thanks to the cloud.


Mobility

As I mentioned, the cloud let’s your team (and yourself) become mobile if need be. All the times people are on the go, working from home, meeting clients or the millions of things you could be doing while not at the office, they will have access to business critical information without having to carry it around in a USB.

But let’s say you don’t have a team. You manage to take care of everything by yourself, and no one else will ever need to access your files.

Before you sprain your shoulder patting yourself on the back, think about all of the times you’ve received an email from a customer or provider while out of the office. Do you keep all of your files saved on both your home computer and your smartphone? Probably not.

If your files are saved in the cloud, you can effectively take them with you anywhere in the world (provided there’s an internet connection). And when you do get back into the office, you can pick up right where you left off.


Specialized storage options

The sheer number of options for how to store your data online is mind-boggling (in a wonderful way). The tools available not only allow you to take advantage of cloud storage, but it also lets you leverage your data and files in a way you couldn’t before.

You can store your contact information in a Customer Relationship Manager (CRM) or your product information in a Product Information Manager (PIM). These systems take your data and make it dynamic. Send an email to multiple prospects? Awesome. Create a digital catalog? Done. Filter and analyze existing information? Bang!

You (most definitely) might be wasting your potential with everything sitting in a local environment.

 

Read more: Top cloud tools for small business on a budget


Loss prevention and recovery

Let’s just say it: if you keep all of your documents in one place, you’re just one accident away from losing everything. If you think you can keep everything safe by taking it with you, consider the face that 12,000 laptops are lost in airports each week - and most of them are never returned to their owners.

Even with onsite backup, a fire or earthquake can cause catastrophic damage. If you want to avoid your own Library of Alexandria situation, the only guaranteed solution is keeping all of your files saved offsite in a secure location.

Losing your data is still a major bummer, but at least you can rest safe knowing that it won’t cost you thousands of dollars of lost business just because you spilled your coffee.


Security

While it might be tempting to think that the safest place for sensitive information is on local storage, the truth is that it’s better left to the professionals. Data breaches are becoming increasingly common, and with 58 records being stolen each second at an average cost of $141 per record, you’d better be taking your data security seriously.

Fortunately, reputable cloud storage providers have far better security capabilities than you can imagine. And unlike a certain company that starts with a ‘Y’ and ends with an ‘ahoo’, they will notify you immediately if something has been compromised and get to work making sure it never happens again.

Not only do they use state of the art encryption to keep your files safe, physical cloud servers are protected by legions of guards 24 hours a day. Can you say the same about the backup hard drive in your desk drawer?


Cost savings

You can encrypt your files and invest in a secure onsite server, but it will come at a tremendous cost. Unless you’re hiding your data from the NSA, you’d be silly not to take advantage of the huge cost savings that big cloud server databases can offer.

Although the initial move to cloud storage comes with some costs (mostly time and training depending on the level of specialization), you will quickly see a significant ROI. Everything that you and your employees do will be done faster and more easily, saving countless hours of work.

Even better, most of them are pay-as-you-go. Software as a Service (SaaS) options generally  let you choose subscriptions so you only need to pay for what you need. Whether that’s 10 GB or 100 TB, you’re covered. Which ties in nicely to our next and final point…


Scalability

Nowadays business owners need to think ahead and plan carefully to make sure their businesses are scalable. For storage, nothing could be easier to scale than cloud storage. 

As mentioned before, you only need to pay for as much storage as you need, even if that changes month to month. If you want to expand your team, you simply need to add another user (and decide what they have access to).

If you’re still not convinced, you can always give it a try for free. Most companies offer some kind of free trial, whether it’s unlimited storage for a certain amount of time or a small amount of storage for an unlimited amount of time. With a bit of research, you’ll find the perfect solution or solutions for you and your business.

Topics: cloud, Small Business, File Management, Getting organized

Nick Rowan

Written by Nick Rowan

Nick Rowan is an entrepreneur and freelance tech writer specialized in ecommerce and Android. Based in Malaga, Spain, currently he is working on a new project called The Treeographer, which documents the histories of important trees around the world.