According to IDG, 92% of IT environments rely on the cloud. That number is predicted to grow to 95% by mid-year 2021. With the growth in the use of the cloud among enterprises and medium-to-large businesses, many small businesses are wondering whether they should also be investing more in cloud solutions to streamline their operations. The answer is yes, as the cloud offers plenty of valuable benefits to small businesses. So, as we enter a new year, it’s a great time to consider cloud strategies that can help you grow your small business.
Cloud Solutions to Power Productivity
From QuickBooks to Microsoft Office, many of the tools businesses depend on offer both a local, desktop version and a cloud version. But cloud apps often offer an easier way to store, share, and access files; more features; and accessibility from anywhere. So it makes sense for small businesses to consider which business functions should move to the cloud. You’re already likely using the cloud in some fashion, but it’s worthwhile to regularly evaluate what’s available to make sure you’re getting the tools you need while optimizing your costs and helping your people be more productive. The tech world moves fast, and you may find your next competitive advantage waiting for you in the cloud, whether that’s in the form of project or time management tools, marketing automation, or what have you.
Cloud for Customer Success and Engagement
When people look for businesses online, they often read through online reviews. Having a bunch of great online reviews can bring waves of new customers, but some businesses struggle to get them. That’s why cloud-based online reputation management tools are becoming so popular. Tools like these help businesses get more online reviews while helping to drive stronger customer engagement by giving businesses new ways to communicate, such as SMS text messaging. These apps also help businesses gather feedback from customers, so they can understand what they’re doing well and where improvement might be needed. Feedback like this is essential to businesses as they continually improve the customer experience. If you’re looking for ways to stand out online and offer customers a better experience, check out a few of the top online reputation management solutions.
Cloud Storage and Syncing
One of the simplest, most powerful cloud benefits is a better way to store information. Rather than keeping documents on local machines, storing files in the cloud ensures that you can access them from any device, anywhere. The cloud also helps you optimize local storage by keeping large files in the cloud and provide your teams with better ways to collaborate. If you’re not using a productivity suite like Microsoft 365 or Google Workspace, consider using a storage solution like Dropbox or Box to store data. Remember, however, that just because data is in the cloud doesn’t mean it’s automatically safe. That brings us to our next point.
Cloud Backup and Recovery
Lost data can be costly. Add to that the cost of lost productivity in the form of downtime (which costs an average of $5600 per minute) and it’s clear that every business needs a backup and disaster recovery (DR) plan for protecting data and reducing downtime. While the cloud might be only part of your plan, it can be one of the best ways to prevent data loss and accelerate recovery if your systems go down. Taking both local and cloud backups of your data is the best approach. And, if you’re using cloud-based apps like Google Workspace or Microsoft 365, you may want a cloud-to-cloud solution to back up those accounts for extra data protection.
From helping you get more customers and keeping you productive, to protecting your precious data, the cloud has near limitless potential for helping small businesses. As you consider how your business will adapt to the changes ahead in 2021, be sure to consider how the latest cloud solutions can help.