How to Use the Cloud in Your Small Business

We’ve spent the last few weeks talking about the cloud: what it is, how it works, and what you need to know. While you should have a good solid foundation about the cloud at this point, there is still one lingering question: how do you actually use the cloud in your small business? We’ve briefly talked about some of these cloud services when talking about the pros and cons of the cloud. While there are many different cloud programs, services, and platforms, in the end there are four basic ways that you can use the cloud in your small business.

1. Sharing Information

Cloud based programs are a great way to easily share information between co-workers. With programs such as Google Docs or Microsoft Office 365, all you have to do is give access to a document or file to another person. That person can then, depending on the limits you set, see, read, or even edit the document. Cloud sharing eliminates the need to email files or print copies. It also ensures that everyone is always working from the same version.

2. Extra Storage

The more media we use in our businesses, the more storage space we need. Images, video, and audio files can be extremely large and can take up massive amounts of space on your hard drive. However by shifting these files to the cloud, you can free up space in your local storage while still making them easily accessible. There are many free storage services to get you started (such as Dropbox or OneDrive), and you can purchase additional space as your business needs it.

3. Modern Mobile Office

So many small businesses depend on people who do not spend a lot of time in the office. Whether you have employees who work from home, or you find yourself constantly on the road, the cloud allows you to create a fully functional mobile office for anyone connected to your company. When your smartphone or tablet is connected to your cloud programs, you can sync and access your information from any location, anytime.

4. Data Backup

We’ve talked a lot on this blog about the importance of backing up your data. With the amount of information that is stored on our devices, damage to a computer, hard drive, or server can be crippling to a business. By using systems such as Mozy or Carbonite to back up all of your data, you can rest assured that there is a copy of your information waiting for you whenever disaster may strike. What are some of your favorite cloud programs? How have you seen them help your business? Share your experiences in the comments below!