Continuity Centers

5 Ways to Empower Your Business Through the Cloud

If you’re reading this, there’s a very good chance you’re already using the cloud in some form or fashion.

“But inanimate Continuity Centers whitepaper,” you may ask, “how can I be using the cloud? I don’t recall paying for anything saying I was on the cloud!”

And you’re probably right. Cloud technology simply means that the data you use isn’t hosted on your property. It’s stored in a secure location – usually many secure locations, all at once.

It’s an efficient way to distribute software and services to a worldwide market without bogging down end-user storage and processing capabilities.

So are you using the cloud? Let’s see. Here’s a tiny fraction of the most popular cloud applications.

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If you answered “yes” to any of these, congratulations – you’re using cloud-based technology. The tech behind the cloud has considerably advanced the quality of life of nearly everyone on earth. Even Gartner predicts that by 2020, cloud deployment of software solutions will be the default option.

Here’s how you can harness the power of the cloud to your company’s advantage.

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Method 1 – Improve IT Spending

The typical cloud service model operates on a clearly defined contract. Rather than using upfront CapEx costs to purchase expensive hardware to run business applications, cloud services require you to switch spending to favor OpEx.

For your business, that amounts to less upfront costs and greatly reduced capital tied into depreciating hardware. Cloud services are repeatable – and therefore predictable – so you can use them to create more accurate IT budgets.

Tightening up your company’s IT budget allows you to better track where you need to allocate funds, which reduces frivolous spending and sunk costs. You can put the recouped funds towards new workstations, improved conference room solutions, or even bigger bonuses for your employees.

Method 2 – Increase Your Productivity

You can use productivity applications in many ways, especially when used as an aggregate to group work together for people in your company. Popular cloud-based productivity applications include Basecamp, Asana, Trello, and Microsoft Sharepoint – and that’s hardly all of them.

Using the cloud for productivity gives you full control over what you want people to work on and view. Segmenting your company into dedicated teams that work together will reduce unnecessary tasking and channel noise while increasing work output.

When you’ve got dedicated teams of employees working closely together on a project, your company can get work done faster and with better overall quality. Cloud productivity applications reduce wasted time on resource-hunting and finger pointing because they pool resources together and task out actions to individuals, creating streamlined accountability.

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Method 3 – Communicate More Effectively

Keeping everyone in touch with each other and having open communication channels is vital for the success of any business. Naturally, cloud communication applications go hand-in-hand with productivity applications.

Even in 2012, a study by McKinsey & Company found that improved communication and collaboration through social technologies raised the productivity of interaction workers by 20 to 25 percent.

When we say “cloud communication” applications, we’re not just referring to instant chat applications. After all, applications with the most impact for businesses usually include features such as screen sharing, video presentations, file sharing, and more. Popular applications include Slack, Skype for Business, Google Hangouts, and Microsoft Teams.

Method 4 – Work From Anywhere

By nature, the cloud is accessible from anywhere and at any time. It inherently allows people to use it remotely, opening up the possibility of remote work for companies across the world.

Organizations are eager for the chance to introduce remote work as a part of their benefit offering because it’s been proven to be effective on two major fronts.  For starters, cloud-based remote work makes your company more appealing to a wider pool of talented people.

80% to 90% of the US workforce says they would like to telework at least part time. Two to three days a week seems to be the sweet spot that allows for a balance of concentrative work (at home) and collaborative work (at the office).

Secondly, cloud-based remote work also reduces operating costs within a business tied to employee presence. When there are less employees in the office, you’re saving money on additional tech hardware, office supplies, IT resources, space, and more.

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Method 5 – Bolster Your Security

Security issues have quickly risen to become major concerns for many companies. 50% of small and midsized organizations reported suffering at least one cyberattack in the last 12 months.

While there are certainly steps you can take to bolstering your cybersecurity efforts, you still need an effective form of encryption and prevention. Putting your data in the cloud isn’t necessarily the complete solution to securing your data, but it’s a step in the right direction.

Once your sensitive data is in the cloud, it becomes harder for hackers break into it. Your data is stored on servers that reside in physically secure facilities. The servers and storage within the facility are protected by next-generation firewalls, anti-malware programs, and more.

Having your data in the cloud doesn’t protect you fully. You must still take care to secure your own network and any other device that can connect to your data.

Got cloud questions?

We can help you understand more about the cloud and answer any questions you may have.

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