Cloud storage solves several problems most small business owners don’t know they have. It frees up hard drive space, allows accessibility from any device at any location and eliminates the need to conduct time-consuming backups. The disadvantages include security, reliability and speed. Information that travels through the Internet is susceptible to hackers if you don’t have the right levels of security in place. Firewalls, encryption and added levels of personal security such as identity theft protection protect the information so small business owners can continue to reap the benefits.
Here are 21 facts about cloud computing for small businesses:
1. Cloud computing is a competitive business. Shop for the best combination of performance and price.
2. Public clouds send data over the Internet and are managed by cloud service companies.
3. Private clouds are set up for businesses, and only the businesses’ data are stored in these clouds. The businesses typically run their own clouds.
4. Seventy percent of people who use cloud computing don’t know they are using cloud computing. (Suredoc)
5. One cloud server is added for every 600 smartphones and 120 tablets in use. (Vorsite)
6. Sixty-four percent of companies surveyed reported reduced waste and lower energy consumption after they switched to cloud computing. (DCloud)
7. In 2012, banking was the number one way people use cloud computing. (DeVry)
8. Anyone with a Gmail account is using cloud computing — 425 million people in 2012. (DeVry)
9. Cloud storage reduces or eliminates the need for small businesses to buy expensive storage solutions and technologies. Therefore, they become more competitive. (Microsoft)
10. The technology could create 300,000 to 1 million jobs… (Microsoft)
11. … even though 14 percent of companies in one survey said they downsized their IT staff after switching to cloud. (Ramco )
12. It requires API access. (Linthicum) Application programming interface is like the doors the monsters use in “Monsters, Inc.” to travel from the monster world to little kids’ bedrooms. APIs connect systems.
13. Cloud storage is safer than most on-site storage solutions. The key is data encryption. Ask for bank-grade security.
14. If you travel often and want all-encompassing safeguard strategy for your information, identity theft services from Lifelock  add a layer on top of your cloud storage.
15. As many frustrated Google Drive users can attest, cloud computing is as reliable as the servers on which your information is stored. It can be slow.
16. Switching from one cloud provider to another is difficult. They call this “vendor lock-in,” which stinks if your service is slow or experiences daily stoppages. (JavaCodeGeeks)
17. Your provider should encrypt data in transit and while idle. (McAfee)
18. Make sure your vendor’s data centers are safe from natural disasters and that it has a backup plan in case one hits. (Highq.com)
19. Cloud computing is easily scalable.
20. Forty percent of people surveyed by Wakefield Research said they favor being able to work from home in their “birthday suits.” (Citrix)
21. Amazon.com is the leader in cloud storage solutions for businesses. (Motley Fool)
~ Shane Avron