Getting your head in the cloud: Essential tips for small businesses
Small businesses can have more flexibility with cloud-based services, allowing employees to work from anywhere with control over document versions, enterprise-level data security, and faster data recovery.
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Not everyone has a clear understanding of cloud computing – and what it can do for their small business. Only about half of small businesses are in the most mature stages of cloud adoption. This is in sharp contrast to a vast majority of mid-sized to enterprise businesses embracing cloud and transforming to hybrid environments in record numbers.
So, what is cloud computing – and why should you care? Cloud computing is a model for enabling on-demand network access to a pool of computing resources. It can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management – and minimal need for costly service providers. Ninety-four percent of businesses claimed to see an improvement in security after switching to the cloud. Ninety-one percent said the cloud made it easier to meet government compliance requirements. As such, the cloud is a liberating choice for those owners who transition their IT operations there, wisely and strategically.
Types of cloud computing
There are three different kinds of cloud computing that provide different services:
- Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS): Small businesses can buy virtualized computing resources over the internet, such as servers or storage. Simply purchase what you need and pay –as –you go. The web hosting service that you are likely using for your business website is a simple example of IaaS. You pay a monthly subscription or a per-megabyte/gigabyte fee to have a hosting company serve up files for your website from their servers.
- Software as a Service (SaaS): Instead of installing and maintaining software, you simply access it via the internet, freeing yourself from complex software and hardware management. Its applications are sometimes called web-based software, on-demand software, or hosted software. As a customer, you have no hardware or software to buy, install, maintain, secure, or update. Simply access your application/software over the internet whenever you need it.
- Platform as a Service (PaaS): You can develop applications using web-based tools so they run on systems software and hardware provided by another company. For example, you might develop your own e-commerce website using a vendor’s web tools and have the whole thing, including the shopping cart, checkout, and payment mechanism, running on that vendor’s site.
Canadian entrepreneurs who have jumped on the cloud bandwagon are singing its praises. The newest cloud-based services are empowering them with anywhere, anytime access to flexible, mobile business tools and resources that simplify their IT infrastructure, reduce their business costs, and help them deliver top-notch service.
Three reasons to get your business in the cloud today:
- Lower costs
The power of cloud-computing means your business can do a lot more with less. It allows you to buy only the services you want, when you want them, cutting the upfront capital costs of computers and peripherals. Subscription-based models can help small businesses manage their cash flow and avoid pricey spend on storage hardware. Maintaining server equipment requires time, money, and expertise, which makes outsourcing a cost-efficient option. The cloud can also help reduce IT maintenance costs since software and system updates are handled by a third party.
- Better collaboration
The ability to collaborate across boundaries, time zones, and borders is becoming an increasingly critical success factor for businesses. Cloud storage allows teams to save and access various files via the internet and easily work from the same master document without worrying about version control. Teams can better collaborate in real-time from different locations.
- Increased flexibility
The ability to access work-related files and information from any device in any place at any time is one of the greatest benefits of the cloud. In addition, small-business owners can further lower their costs by allowing their employees to work from anywhere. Most cloud services offer mobile apps so employees can do the same work on different devices. . Working from anywhere allows small businesses to offer more flexible remote work for a better work-life balance and increased employee satisfaction.
The cloud has some great benefits for managing your HR and payroll too:
Abiding by rules and regulations is simpler
With automatic updates, you’ll not only stay current without having to keep up with the 200 ever-changing federal and provincial regulations in Canada and the many federal, state, and local regulations in the U.S. You can also reduce the risk of paying the heavy fines associated with non-compliance.
HR and payroll become more predictable expenses
When your data and workflow is scattered across multiple applications, errors and inconsistencies are bound to occur. With cloud-based technology, everything is together in one application.
It’s a sustainable option
Cloud computing allows you to handle your HR and payroll with a minimal amount of paper. Electronic statements allow employees to view their paystubs and other data either online or via mobile device.
It supports business scalability and helps manage security
Small businesses can grow fast. Most cloud providers are ready to scale up your data and resource needs, even for seasonal or temporary growth.
Data security is a top priority for businesses today, from the threat of hacking or accidental losses. Cloud providers can help manage security with authentication, encrypted data, and specified user permissions, all from a remote site.
In terms of future adoption, the cloud market is continually evolving. Gartner predicts global cloud adoption will continue to expand rapidly, with many organizations using hybrid ecosystems of multiple clouds.
Learn more about leveraging HR/Payroll cloud computing to run your small business with more intelligence and ease. Contact Ceridian today.