Enterprise Cloud Computing for Your Small Business

Friday, August 6, 2010 by Sidney Angelos

Some small business owners mistakenly believe that enterprise cloud computing is something that benefits only large corporations. In fact, the small business often has much more to gain from the cloud.  Since many startups and small businesses are strapped for cash, it makes sense for them to move to the cloud and avoid paying a large upfront investment in hardware and software.

With an enterprise cloud computing platform, the provider from whom you are “renting” the service will typically handle all maintenance and upgrade costs. If additional servers are required, the provider is the one who buys them. Reducing capital expenditures gives you more cash to use for other expenses, such as marketing, that can help your business to grow.

You never have to worry about running out of storage, because you are renting whatever storage space you need from the provider. You can adjust the amount you need as your business expands, and it is more or less instantly available, without the need to purchase hardware and configure it before you can use it. Cloud computing is scalable and flexible, so it can easily accommodate your business’s peak periods or steady growth.

Cloud computing allows small companies to have access to the same applications as the large corporations. Many of these are simply impractical for a smaller operation to purchase, either because of the expense or because they will be outdated long before a significant return on investment can be realized. Cloud-based applications are extremely flexible and can be tailored to your business’s needs, allowing you to get all the valuable the features without the expense.

You will also have access to your data from any location. All you need is an Internet connection. This means that whether you at home or on the road, you are not cut off from your information. The same is true for all of your authorized users, who no longer must be at their desks to log in to the program.

Back ups and disaster recovery are handled by the provider as well. You no longer have to worry about losing your data should your building suffer a fire or flood. Trips to safety deposit boxes to store your offsite back ups are also eliminated.

Qiligo, an Atlanta-based SEO firm, moved from in-house Microsoft Office to a cloud-based platform when CEO Rick Batchelor added a new staff member and realized he would need to shell out several hundred dollars to obtain another license of Office. He lists the advantages as fewer support problems, which translates to lower cost and increased productivity; ease in sharing documents with clients and offsite employees; better organization; and the ability to access data from mobile devices.

If you add up all that you are paying for software and additional licensing fees, the space to store your data, and the cost of an IT staff, you may find that enterprise cloud computing makes sense for your small business. Whether you opt for a completely integrated program that combines accounting functions, customer service, sales data integration and lead management, or a limited application to share spreadsheets and documents, the chances are that you will realize significant savings and be able to grow your business with ease.

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Virtual Global, a West Virginia corporation, is a provider of cloud-enabled enterprise IT solutions, including the TeamHost™ cloud platform for creating and deploying SaaS systems without programming; HealthCapsule™, a toolkit for creating secure Health IT solutions; TeamLeader™, a project management 2.0 software for tracking and reporting on virtual teams in real-time; and cloudipedia.com, a website that brings cloud computing information to the masses. Since 1995, Virtual Global’s platform technologies have served commercial and federal customers worldwide with enterprise-class IT needs.