What is “The Cloud” and How Can it Help My Small Business?
The race is on for the paperless office. Is your business ready?
“The Cloud” is a term that gets tossed around a lot in today’s media. But do you really understand what it is and its capabilities? Is there a physical state of this cloud entity? Is it really safe to store your business’s sensitive data? Cloud computing is essentially a network of off-site servers that allow you to upload, store, and organize your data virtually by using an internet connection. Once uploaded to the cloud, you can access your electronic files from any office, computer machine, or mobile device, granting you and your employees more flexibility in your everyday business operations.
Costs of the Cloud for Small Business
While there may be costs to license the storage ownership, employ security measures, and scan the backdated files, moving to the cloud tends to be a financial benefit for businesses. No longer do you need to purchase expensive equipment that will depreciate over time. Hopefully your paper and printing costs will go down, too. As a small business owner, who wouldn’t want to improve their overhead and cash flow?
In a paperless environment, you can decrease the risk of stolen or misplaced files as your business and client data structure is located in an encrypted virtual database hosted by your storage provider. Access to the information requires a secure login set by permission controls that can aid in reducing your organization’s fraud risk. If you have chosen a virtual storage provider that supports automatic data back up, you can breathe easy knowing that your electronic files can be easily recovered in the unfortunate event of data loss at your physical office location.
Increased efficiency can come into play several ways. First, when your information is moved to a virtual storage space, you are able to access it anytime, anywhere from an internet browser or mobile device. Items are no longer stored locally where you have to be physically present to log on. In addition, since your data can be accessed from more than one location, real-time synchronizing and integrating of your work is a way to eliminate duplicate files or documents. Both of these benefits are advantageous to your workforce so employees can better collaborate across departments, multiple offices, or if they work remotely from home or on the road. In addition, digitized files allow your company’s data to be electronically indexed and therefore easier to search and stay organized.
Moving your entire operations and precious data to an unknown virtual space may seem daunting, but it’s worth taking a second look at. Instead of transitioning your entire business at once, try adapting a hybrid-cloud approach. Start with one department that utilizes a lot of paper records, such as payroll, client billings, human resources, or your bookkeeping/accounting tasks. Once you bring this first area to a digitized environment, the results will be more obvious in the short term and encourage you to begin the undertaking in other departments for the long term.
Contact David on 866 667 4100 or by Email if you would like more information about the cloud for small business.
About the Author: David Evans, CPA
Dave is an Associate Partner and Director of Small Business Services at Alloy Silverstein. Certified in both New Jersey and Pennsylvania, Dave has over 25 years of experience in providing accounting, tax, management, and consulting solutions in both the public and private accounting industries. In his role as Director of Small Business Services, he helps small business owners implement customized systems to make the paperless transition to the cloud, specifically for accounting, bookkeeping, and business process outsourcing, which also extends to payroll operations.