The cloud is a buzz word many in corporate America have become fascinated with in recent months. It’s understandable that the promise of constant connectivity, instantaneous communication, and improved insights sends a shiver up the legs of corporate executives hungry for a competitive advantage.
While Fortune 500s create IT task forces to move corporate data and processes into the cloud, how can small and medium-sized businesses get in on the action?
Security in the Cloud
Keeping data safe in the cloud is a major concern for businesses. As data is constantly transmitted from the cloud to the devices that are connected to it, concerns arise about data security. Encryption becomes the key to keeping data safe during transmission and storage.
The big players in the cloud space (Google, Microsoft, Amazon, DropBox, etc.) have reputations to protect. Your information’s security must be able to rest confidently in the brands that have built a reputation for high-security high-tech.
To keep your data 100% safe, without sacrificing accessibility, working with a cloud software company you can trust is essential. Cloud works has helped countless firms make sense of the latest cloud-based solutions on the market.
Working with a professional firm helps take the guesswork out of what programs to utilize in your business, and how to structure information access across your organization.
Microsoft is betting big on Cloud-Based Solutions
Microsoft has a long history as a scalable provider of business, personal, and educational computing solutions. Whether we’re talking about the Windows operating system, or Microsoft Office, it’s almost a guarantee that you’ve come into contact with a Microsoft product at least once or twice in your lifetime.
- Microsoft Azure
Azure is a cloud computing and software solution that empowers businesses of any size to operate in the cloud. Whether it’s the simple setup of a web app, like a WordPress website, or a more complex database platform that allows for cloud-based customer management and service, Azure could be the perfect fit for your business.
- Office 365
Office 365 empowers companies and personal users to create using Microsoft Office 2016. Keep in touch with friends, family, and colleagues by using Outlook or Skype. Create great documents, like the one you’re reading right now, with Microsoft Word.
Microsoft PowerPoint is the most popular solution for creating slide decks for presentations. Microsoft Access allows for the creation of databases, as well as visual basic programming for more complex data collaboration.
Microsoft Excel is widely used for spreadsheets and allows databases; you can transform your excel database into mysql.
One of the coolest parts of using Office 365 is that you can store all of your documents in OneDrive; a cloud-based file storage service from Microsoft. OneDrive is great for users with multiple computers, and entire teams can share internal resources and collaborate more efficiently.
The web apps from Microsoft that are included with Office 365 allow users to do almost everything they can with the standard software on their computer. As long as the Office 365 subscription is kept active, users get the latest software and productivity tools from Microsoft. Say goodbye to buying new software licenses every time something new comes out!
Working in Sync
For businesses with more than 1 team member, it’s critical that the entire organization is in-sync, ready to take on the challenges ahead. Information sent out via email sometimes doesn’t get opened right away, and really isn’t an effective way for teams on the go to communicate.
Companies like Astea actually create custom programming solutions so that all of a company’s assets, resources, and mobile workers can be fully in sync.
Having information available in the cloud means that every device connected to the cloud is always working off the latest version of a file or project. Web applications, like Word 2016, allow multiple users to edit documents at the same time.
Google Docs and Zoho Docs are other great examples of this kind of software. View changes in real-time and quickly contribute individual knowledge to the group: that’s working in the cloud!
Google Drive is a free service offered by Google. Anyone with a Google account (i.e. Gmail) can access the service by visiting drive.google.com. The files are saved in Google Drive (a private cloud server), sparing valuable space on computer hard drives. Documents can even be edited from Androids and iPhones.
For companies looking to eliminate software licensing costs, Google’s suite of free online productivity programs is a home run. The only downside is that Google has full access to the information stored, and uses that information for marketing purposes; they do promise that no humans actually read your information.
Website Analytics and Marketing Insights
One of the most popular cloud-based programs utilized by companies of all shapes and sizes is Google Analytics. By entering in an account-specific line of code on every page of a company’s website, real-time data is compiled by Google that gives companies insights on their website’s users:
- Where are they visiting from
- How long are they spending on your content
- How are they engaging with the site?
All of these questions can be answered by Google Analytics, the most powerful, free online marketing tool available to your company.
Critical Data Backup
Part of keeping your company’s vital files safe is backing them up to a secondary, off-site source. If you have irreplaceable company files on your computer, you need to back them up to the cloud.
If there’s a fire, theft or flood at your office, your personal data would be lost forever. With the cloud, your data is stored in multiple state of the art server farms around the world.
Don’t lose sleep, or data. Take full advantage of the cloud’s capabilities in your business!