20th October, 2023
The digital era has produced some of the most disruptive technologies in human history — from the World Wide Web to Artificial Intelligence — all of which have significantly impacted how businesses operate.
Cloud computing is one such technology that has reshaped how businesses communicate and run their essential applications.
These days, you don’t need to install physical infrastructure at your company’s office when there’s a perfectly good online solution available as a service.
While such accessibility has allowed businesses to rapidly scale their operations, it also means that cloud computing tech has become a prerequisite for small businesses to succeed.
Your number one priority with any software, let alone cloud computing, is data security.
A data breach could be disastrous — not just because of reputational damage but also the fines that could result.
Cybercrime is on the rise in recent years and is estimated to cost businesses $8 trillion in 2023.
So, look for cloud solutions that take measures to protect your data, such as encryption protocols, and implementing multi-factor authentication for identification security.
You should also educate your staff on identifying common phishing scams, best password practices, and shutting off devices not in use.
When we think of cloud storage, people imagine their data is stored in some mystical ‘cloud’ that floats above our heads.
This isn’t quite how it works — cloud computing just means data is stored on a server.
While this is very useful for small businesses that don’t have their own data warehouses, it does have implications for regulatory compliance.
You’re responsible for how you handle customer data, and you must pick a provider that follows your country’s rules.
Imagine a law firm that’s adopted a cloud-based family law software tool to track case progress, with recorded details of their client’s names, addresses, personal statements, etc.
Since this is personal data, the firm has a fiduciary duty to protect this data. It’s also protected under data privacy regulations like GDPR, which means it has to be stored securely and transparently.
As such, it’s paramount that your business chooses the right tools that adhere to local data handling standards.
Whenever you adopt a new business software, it comes with its fair share of technical difficulties.
That’s especially true for cloud computing tools that replace manual workloads, i.e., HR or workforce management platforms.
To avoid this becoming a problem, consider up-skilling your staff at an early stage to ensure a successful transition.
You may find that online learning courses are a great resource for training your staff quickly.
The strength of cloud services lies in flexibility — you get to enjoy all the functionality from the day you sign up.
However, while these solutions require less initial investment, they can become expensive in the long run.
Constantly monitor your usage patterns and evaluate whether you truly need all of the cloud packages that you’re subscribed. You could move to a cheaper option or tier.
You could also find a combined solution that saves money.
For example, exploring an all-in-one accounting software package may make sense if you use invoicing, cash flow, and payroll software.
Relying on cloud computing also means relying on internet connectivity. If you lose access to your cloud servers, it means your business is essentially paralysed.
We’re not just talking about your router switching off — it could also mean situations where there’s an external problem on your cloud provider’s side.
To save yourself from this frustration, invest in a decent broadband solution and only pick cloud services that guarantee constant uptime.
Migrating data in and out of cloud services can be tricky, and businesses end up feeling tied to a vendor.
This process can be especially tricky when you’re switching the underlying infrastructure — such as transitioning from a physical landline to a cloud PBX or moving client data to a new CRM system.
To avoid this headache, regularly backup your cloud data on your own computers.
You should try to pick cloud services that offer easy migration options should you wish to move on.
Easily mitigate cloud computing risks by researching your chosen solutions in depth before signing up for them.
As with any business area, taking due care and diligence pays dividends in the long run.
It also offers peace of mind — you won’t have to worry about security shortcomings if you know where you stand.
Nail down these basics, and you’ll be well on your way to a cloud computing strategy that delivers.