Cloud computing and the small business

Setting Up to Sell

Cloud computing – sometimes called SaaS or Software-as-a-Service – means storing and accessing data and programs over the Internet instead of your computer’s hard drive. Free of upfront costs, cloud computing helps small businesses streamline their operations meaning they can focus on staying competitive.

Before the internet came along, you would purchase software, usually with a licence, and install and run it on your computers. Under the cloud model, the software is run online by a third-party provider, and you access it through your internet browser.

You never install anything on your own computer, and you never actually ‘own’ any software. You are simply renting a service. The service provider handles all updates and upgrades and there is no upfront cost. You pay a low, flat rate monthly fee per user for the software that you use which means you can scale up or down as your business demands.

Running software online allows business owners to work from home and airport lounges as well as the office, and enables easy collaboration with colleagues, clients and suppliers.

Putting your business information in the hands of third party demands a degree of trust but a good cloud provider will have better security and resilience than you can ever hope to afford and will store your data safely and securely. If you leave your laptop in a restaurant, your data is still safe and immediately accessible online from another machine. Make sure you choose a reputable supplier for cloud services.

Is your business in the clouds yet?

Adapted from Guardian Professional and an article by Eric Griffith in PC Mag

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