What is the cloud in simple terms?

Cloud in simple terms: You’ve probably heard a lot about the cloud.  You’ve heard that it’s an opportunity for your business to unshackle itself from expensive and clunky processes and hardware. You’ve also heard that with a few simple changes, all your business operations can become agile and sleek. In fact, you may already be using it or are considering switching to it.

That sounds good, but what exactly does the cloud translate to in practical, simple terms? For example, what are the concrete results your business will experience? Fortunately, most of what you’ve heard is true. The can help you realize both immediate and long-term results in four major areas: cost savings, time, productivity and efficiency.

Financial savings

Your IT budget may be high. Computer hardware is expensive and so is maintaining it. Servers need to be updated as often as every three to five years or at the very least every ten.

Storing data in the cloud instead of on-site could save your business many thousands of dollars from the IT budget alone. There’s also the fact that most cloud-based apps take care of updating themselves. That means you’ll have a drastically reduced need to continually invest in IT updates and staffing costs. With managed IT services, you can cut your bills even further.

Migrating to the cloud also gets your business in better shape to recover quickly in the event of a cyber attack, phishing scheme, power outage or natural disaster. For example, the cloud automatically updates your data as you work and creates off-site copies. So if a thief steals your cellphone, a power outage hits or you drop your laptop, your work is still accessible from a different device. You can keep working right where you left off and never miss a beat.

Just as importantly, you’re able to grow your business with less. With a minimal amount of money and equipment, the cloud helps scale your business so you only pay only for the access and services you need.

Time savings

No matter what type of projects your employees are working on, they may need input from you and other colleagues. It can involve a lot of emailing back and forth and lots of phone calls. There could even come a time when you’re looking at four versions of the same project and aren’t sure which one is current.

The cloud streamlines the work process for tremendous time savings. Employees are able to access current versions of files and projects from anywhere and from any device, eliminating the need for emailing sensitive files. It also cuts down on the likelihood of errors and embarrassing moments in front of clients or customers.

Enhanced productivity and efficiency

Say hello to a mobile, more collaborative workforce. With the cloud, employees at different sites can work with one another as long as they have internet access. They can collaborate in real time, and you can deploy workers around the world to keep your business operations running 24/7.

Here are a few other examples of how cloud computing can make you and your employees more productive and efficient:

  • Integration of phone, fax, IM and teleconferencing
  • Virtual phone lines so you can bring your work anywhere
  • Online seminars and classes for effective and lower-cost continuing education
  • Online invoicing
  • Seamlessly work on the same project on your smartphone, laptop, tablet or PC
  • 24/7 access for your customers for online appointment scheduling and bill pay
  • Time tracking tools for billing

With the cloud, your business gets a lot more done in the same amount of time, leading to happier customers. In fact, the cloud can make a significant change in the way you do business altogether. You’re able to give your employees and customers more tools while your business saves money and establishes a reputation for being agile and responsive.