Cloud Computing—a Small Business Guide

Cloud Computing

Whether you’re new to entrepreneurship or a seasoned businessperson, the need to acquire, manage, and efficiently disseminate funds at every stage of your organization is vital. This includes everything from budgeting and payroll management to financial planning and forecasting.

However, the days when companies would hire accountants to spend countless hours in front of heaps of files, manually adding and deleting entries from financial statements, are long gone. As technology has evolved, so have our business accounting and financial solutions.

A lot of these solutions owe much to cloud computing, and the synergies that it has enabled. Let’s take a look at its role in detail.

What is cloud computing?

What is cloud computing

The word ‘cloud’ is an umbrella term for the thousands of data centers that house specialized hardware and software that enable a bevy of networking, storage, and processing applications—all over the internet.

With the help of cloud computing, users can access files, work on them, re-upload them, and share them across an organization. In short, cloud computing offloads the massive data, processing, and pricing implications of maintaining your own server.

By using a cloud computing solution, all the functions that were previously carried out by the organization’s physical resources are now handled on external servers. All the hardware, in the case of cloud computing, is completely managed by the cloud computing vendor, meaning that even security and failure risks are offloaded.

Cloud computing services can be purchased from cloud computing providers; small businesses either pay for the services as needed or through a “pay per use” pricing model.

How It Can Be Used

There are essentially four main aspects and uses of cloud computing:

  1. Cloud storage:As you keep on working on and uploading new files, they’re constantly synced and made accessible across all devices that currently have access to the cloud computing system.
  2. Cloud backup:The underlying principle of cloud backups is similar to cloud storage. In case of a power outage, system crash, or loss of data due to a cyberattack, cloud backups ensure the safety of crucial business information.
  3. Software as a service (SaaS): This is one of the most common uses of the cloud. Cloud computing vendors use the web to deliver specific services that are constantly updated. These services include QuickBooks, Sage, Office 365, or Salesforce.
  4. Cloud hosting: All data sharing, system applications, and internal and external correspondence is carried out, or rather, ‘hosted,’ via the web.

What are the different types of cloud?

There are three different types of cloud networks that are used by small businesses to streamline their business solutions.

  • Private Cloud:These types of cloud services are a great fit for companies who want exclusive access to cloud applications. The hardware and software are built within the physical premises of the organization and are managed by the business’s in-house IT staff.
  • Public Cloud:Also known as off-site cloud services, public cloud services are the opposite of private clouds in terms of maintenance and management responsibility. The entire infrastructure is managed by a third party vendor who specializes in cloud computing services. Since cloud hosting is not the core competency and expertise of every business, getting an outside company to handle it for you allows for scalability, elasticity, and cost-effectiveness.
  • Hybrid cloud: Just as the name suggests, a hybrid cloud service combines the advantages of both. Some aspects of the maintenance of the cloud service are managed by an in-house IT team, while others are controlled by the vendor. A great use case for this is a small business which may want to store sensitive customer or operation-related data in their own systems, but leave less crucial data like inventory information for third party storage.

Cloud computing for small businesses: what are the benefits?

Cloud computing enables businesses to get a lot more done. Here’s how:

  1. Automation

This is by far the biggest reason why small businesses opt for cloud computing. Every business wants to increase customer value and establish a strong foothold in the market. For this, customers need to be provided with a high-quality user experience, which includes everything from transparent billing, quick invoice generation, and ease of usability.

Cloud hosting business solutions like QuickBooks automate these tasks and, therefore, increase output. Other than that, automation also reduces the chances of human error and discrepancies.

 

  1. Better collaboration

Remote coordination is essential for businesses which operate across a number of locations. Let’s say you’re traveling and the rest of your team is still stationed on premises. There’s a need for a shared system that will allow everyone to stay on the same page. If you rely on conventional computing, this is not possible, hampering productivity and output. Since cloud computing allows you to access all business data and applications via the web, you can collaborate with the rest of the team despite not being in the same office.

 

  1. Scalability

In times of fluctuating demand, companies can scale up and down using cloud computing. Here’s how it works; cloud computing systems are highly flexible in terms of the number of users they can accommodate. If you want to increase your workforce while using a traditional computing system, your business will have to incur additional costs relating to new infrastructure, workstations, etc. On the other hand, cloud providers allow you to pay for what you need.

 

  1. Cost-effectiveness

The biggest cost reduction in the case of cloud computing is related to infrastructure and hardware. All you have to do is pay the cloud computing vendor based on your subscription package and access to web applications. The back-end is managed and paid for by the vendor.

This is important because their experts also manage bugs, troubleshoot problems, security concerns, and other application-related issues. Your in-house IT staff might not be well versed in all of these complexities. Not to mention that an in-house team will add to payroll expenditure.

 

  1. Security of data

Data security and integrity are as important as functions like processing, storage, and upgrades. When you’re storing all your data in in-house servers, a single power outage or cyberattack can erase all of your information. To prevent this from happening, you’ll have to go the extra mile and invest in state-of-the-art security features and backup power plans.

In the case of cloud computing, hard drive failures won’t have any impact on your data whatsoever, since vendors usually have systems that serve as a safeguard against hardware failure. Also, cloud servers have routing backups which further lessen any chances of data loss.

QuickBooks as a cloud computing system

In the world of cloud computing, everyone is familiar with QuickBooks hosting. This web-based accounting software has made business operations a lot easier for small businesses by automating payroll, invoices, taxation accounting, financial statements, financial planning, and much more.

Other than that, one of the biggest advantages of QuickBooks is how easily it allows this information to be shared to various end users and stakeholders. As soon as the customer or vendor makes a payment, it is immediately updated in the records of the company without any delay. QuickBooks also allows you to rectify errors, update entries, and make additions to the financial statements throughout the fiscal year.

Furthermore, with the help of detailed profit and loss accounts, QuickBooks keeps business owners updated about the financial standing, liquidity profile, and profitability of their company.

As far as payroll is concerned, all payroll accounts can be directly integrated with QuickBooks and employees can either be paid directly through deposits or checks every month in a timely fashion. QuickBooks also enables you to keep a track of all the payments made online, outstanding tax amounts, and other expenses which are due.

Gotomyerp.com is a licensed provider of cloud computing systems like QuickBooks and Sage Cloud. We are an Intuit authorized commercial hosting provider which believes in delivering business solutions that will not just help you streamline your operations but will also help you save on costs and increase operational efficiency. For further details about our services, drop us a message online.