Top 4 benefits of the cloud for SMBs

While cloud computing has been lauded as one of the biggest innovations in technology in recent years and as a growing number of companies have adopted the cloud, there are still some holdouts. Despite its popularity, some small businesses in particular still don't think the cloud is within their reach. However, nothing could be further from the truth. The benefits of cloud computing are especially advantageous for smaller organizations. In fact, businesses with less than 20 employees have a 68 percent adoption rate of cloud services compared with 53 percent of companies with between 500 and 1,000 workers according to information cited by Venture Beat. The cloud provides small companies with a variety of benefits, below are the top four:

1) Collaboration
With a small company, the employees are typically more involved with one another than in a major corporation. The cloud enables collaboration to take place more effectively and efficiently, as everyone can work on the same projects and documents in one central location. Having a streamlined center for edits and changes to be made dramatically reduces the back-and-forth emails and the amount of time spent searching for the necessary materials common with traditional collaboration methods.

According to a recent survey of global workplaces by Frost & Sullivan, organizations that deploy more advanced tools achieve a 400 percent return on their collaboration investments as compared with companies that stick to traditional techniques.

2) Security
The cloud provides invaluable data security and backup. Physical document storage solutions – laptops, external hard drives, USBs, etc. – are easily lost or stolen and devices can crash without notice, leaving documents unsaved and gone forever. Cloud storage services offer a secure option available online so files will never be lost or destroyed because of human error or network issues.

Using the cloud for data storage also helps to protect against attacks by cybercriminals. Security firm Alert Logic found in its 2014 Cloud Security Report that cloud environments are actually safer than on-premises solutions. According to the study, brute force attacks occurred 30 percent more frequently in on-premises data centers.

3) Flexibility
Use of the cloud enables companies to experience greater flexibility and mobility, allowing employees to work from anywhere with a connected device. This is especially advantageous for smaller companies as it allows workers to travel and move around as necessary to grow the business while still being able to connect with the home office and be productive.

4) Low cost
Perhaps the greatest benefit the cloud offers to small businesses is the ability to pay as you go. Cloud services are incredibly scalable and easy to expand or contract as necessary. Such a model is ideal for growing companies with uncertain capacity needs. The cloud also offers inexpensive start-up costs and regular software and security updates that reduce maintenance and licensing fees.

According to information cited by Venture Beat, 70 percent of companies using the cloud were able to invest the money they saved with the technology back into the enterprise, increasing growth and revenue.