Here at Boxfusion, we use the cloud to deploy innovative app-based solutions that help the South African government do things more effectively.
We manage to do this even though we are not a big company, because our apps use the power of the cloud to do much of the heavy lifting. We have all of the processing power we need, when we need it, and we can scale it up and down to meet the ever-changing needs of our projects at the click of a few buttons.
In short, we use the cloud to punch well above our weight.
From our own experiences with the cloud, we know for a fact that it can help small businesses all over South Africa do what they do even better. And best of all, the cloud can do that without costing a lot of money.
So with this in mind, we’ve put together this list of five things the cloud offers that small businesses can definitely benefit from.
- Easy and cheap storage
The fastest way a small business can take advantage of the cloud is when it comes to storage. Cloud-based storage is cheap and plentiful, and the ability to share files across the organisation without incurring the cost of a physical server is a massive boon.
We’re big fans of Microsoft, so when it comes to online storage, we recommend businesses look into OneDrive – it offers 15GB of free space per user account, and an impressive 1TB of storage per person when a business signs up for Microsoft 365.
Through OneDrive, your files are all stored on Microsoft’s servers, they are accessible from anywhere there is internet access, and they are safe because Microsoft’s security is top-notch.
- A better backup system
Because cloud storage is literally unlimited, it can easily replace a physical backup server. All you pay for is the amount of storage you need and an internet connection, and once you’ve set your backups to run, you can forget about them entirely.
This way, there’s no paying for a physical server or for a person or independent IT company to look after it. It saves money, time, and hassle, and is incredibly reliable as cloud-based storage typically offers uptime of more than 99%.
- Easy Email
Cloud-based email is far easier to manage than owning and operating your own email server. Everything a traditional email server does can be done in the cloud, and once again, you gain the benefit of not paying for physical hardware, paying only a monthly fee for access, and being able to manage everything easily from an online dashboard.
- Software as a Service
Software as a Service, or SaaS, is software delivered from the cloud. Instead of installing it on local PCs on your work network, it’s accessed through a browser.
Today, you can do things like managing your payroll and HR via the cloud, you can get your office productivity apps from the cloud, and you can even help your teams collaborate more intelligently and manage their workflows from the cloud.
In the cloud model, you simply pay a modest monthly fee for the users that need that software, which you can increase or decrease as your needs dictate. It couldn’t be easier.
- Seamless scalability
Since growth is so important, but difficult to anticipate or plan for easily, the fact that all services delivered from the cloud can be scaled up and down at a moment’s notice is a huge win for any business.
If your headcount changes from month to month, for example, the cloud lets you cater for exactly the number of users inside your company. Gain more, increase your user count. Lose some, reduce it – all at the click of a few buttons.
This way, businesses can get the services they need without wasting money on licenses they aren’t using.
Using the cloud, businesses can maintain tight control over their expenses while getting access to the services they need, when they need it.
Through careful planning and intelligent use of cloud services, all businesses can reduce their expenses, boost their capabilities, and scale up and down according to their needs.