Small and Medium Business Needs

As a small or medium size business owner, costs and spending are large factors in many decisions. In fact, cost is one of the top five deciding factors for SMBs (small or medium businesses) in everything from insurance to business software, operational expenses and even location selection.

With that being said, where does cloud computing, cloud storage and other cloud services factor into a small or medium size business’s needs? What services can SMBs plan and deploy immediately to start saving money? And are there cut-offs for company sizes of business before the cloud costs more than it’s worth?

Small Business Cloud Solutions

For most small and medium businesses that existed over the last couple of years saw software usage be a very painful IT-supported action. Business would go out and purchase software, installing each program on multiple machines, keeping track of licensing information for each terminal, as well as tracking updates which required another round of downloads, installations and more IT-support time. Dollars were not only used in terms of purchasing the software needed and hardware for storage and networking needs, but also an hourly or salaried wage for IT support and/or staff.

Under the cloud using cloud services, SMBs now have that weight lifted from them. Software is online, and can be used not only from one terminal or computer, but any compatible device! This was the birth of SaaS (software as a service) cloud models. Businesses could now focus on purchasing an online software account, and that is it. No licensing issues, no installation or update worries and no added expenses of IT staff being needed.

And what if your employee has problems with the software, what happens? A re-install? A downloaded and install update? Now, a central point that places support on the software vendor and not on your shoulders as a SMB owner is available.

SaaS is only one facet of small business and medium business that sees a benefit in the cloud. This model of BYOD (bring your own device) that involves SaaS can be lead to the single most impactful version of positive cash-flow after switching to cloud-based solutions for your organization. But let’s not forget about IaaS, storage and back-up, as well as collaboration tools, networking and more.

Best small business cloud solutions

Consul-vation, Inc. created a really great webinar on this subject, as almost an intro to what methods businesses can use to introduce cloud services into their business rules and business roles.

Software as a Service for Small Business

SaaS (software as a service) is the most useful and used example of cloud services that help small businesses with their bottom line. Simply put, the cost of removing the need of software on specific systems is impactful to SMB owners.

Storage in the cloud

Cloud storage is another option to small businesses and medium businesses when it comes to cloud services. Specifically, SMBs can create off-site storage that removes dependencies on like storage boundaries (the need to purchase a larger hard drive, or storage package), as well as creating another off-site source for long-term data storage and archiving.

Moving from dedicated servers to the cloud

Cloud hosting can be a move small businesses can make to alleviate costs when it comes time to upgrading your hosting account or dedicated server or VPN needs. Bandwidth, system resources and storage needs all scale to a web hosting need per hour, instead of per month. Also, as those needs change to and from larger and smaller requirements, the central access and physical location of your files never do change.

PaaS and IaaS cloud solutions

PaaS (platform as a service) and IaaS (infrastructure as a service) are useful tools for SMBs that already have some type of infrastructure in place that they maintain at various levels. For business maintaining their own web servers, databases and storage, IaaS in the cloud might be a more stable and cost-effective solution. For business that wish to produce and use software might consider PaaS for easier deployment and scaling.

Small business cloud applications

To understand how widespread cloud computing services from small business are, we are going to review a few to check out what they are, as well as how they can be used in your business. These include online storage of data and files, finance tracking, payments and billables, as well as database needs and project management. Let’s check out some large players for cloud applications for small business, and some choices for you to cut costs as well as meet specific SMB needs.

Small business cloud applications

Online storage

Box.net is the most notable and largest cloud storage and file sharing application on the internet today. Egnyte is a cloud storage vendor that offers upgraded integration of other cloud services, as well as entry-level cloud storage that is affordable and easy to implement.

Small business finances

FreshBooks boasts over 5 million online accounts that track and keep accounting records in the cloud. Kashoo is another finance software vendor that takes mobile accounting for small businesses to another level.

Project Management and Collaboration

BaseCamp is a, online application that has been around for years, which allows users across the globe to participate in online project management. SugarSync does a fantastic job of creating a central point for files, allowing you to stay up-to-date and sync your data around the world.

Productivity

Office 365 is a fully cloud-based application that is basically the younger brother of Microsoft’s Office Suite of business products. Webex makes online conferencing simple, clear and secure for small businesses.

Final thoughts

Small business cloud solutions offer a wide ability to provide cost-effective service, while also allowing SMBs to deploy those solutions in an easy and reliable way. While issues of security, cost, business needs and ease-of-use will be issues no matter the state of cloud use in business service, cloud solutions for small business are very plentiful and as reliable as any maintained hardware or software solution in the past.