The cloud, in the simplest sense, is a centralized, virtual location that stores all types of data, making files and programs accessible from different devices in different locations. There are a many benefits to using the cloud for business, including reduced costs from avoiding fees associated with physical file storage, scalability as your home-based business grows and automated updates and maintenance that could mean you don’t need to keep a dedicated IT expert on staff.
There are a number of ways home-based business owners can leverage the cloud to become more efficient, productive and organized while saving money in the process. Here are four ways to consider using the cloud for your business.
1. Back up your files.
Backing up your data is a vital part of running a business. If you were to experience a computer crash or other kind of disaster that rendered your machine useless, you could lose everything, even your most critical business data. The cloud can be configured to automatically back up your data in the background as you continue to work. You will have a second secure copy of your data saved and accessible off-site.
2. Improved collaboration through file sharing.
Many home-based business owners create remote or virtual teams to support the business when it grows to more than one person can handle. And if you have a remote team, each person needs access to business files in order to do their jobs. The cloud makes sharing data and collaborating in real time not only possible, but easy. Once you have your data backed up, you can share files through a link or by providing your team with access to specific folders. This eliminates the need to send large files via email, saving time and storage space for everyone. This also allows for more efficient collaboration by providing a level of version control that ensures everyone is working from the most recent file.
3. Work from virtually anywhere.
Just because you work from home doesn’t mean you should be tethered to your desk all the time. One day, you may want to work from the local coffee shop, or perhaps you want to keep up with your work while traveling. The cloud allows you to do this by giving you the ability to access, update and sync your files from wherever you are. This means you will not only have a home office, but you can create a mobile office as well. Many backup services provide mobile apps that allow you to access your data from any smartphone, tablet or laptop. This gives you the ability to take your work with you anywhere you go.
4. Quick and easy access to your important files.
As more businesses start using videos, infographics and audio to promote their products and services, files are getting larger and harder to store. Large files take up storage on your local system, but you may not want to save them on a separate drive if you need to access them on a regular basis. The cloud provides you with a place to store and archive these large files while also giving you access to them any time you need them.
The cloud allows home-based business owners to cut costs while providing a level of flexibility to your business. If you decide to move to a commercial office space in the future, or if your team grows, you will not have to adjust your entire infrastructure to accommodate the change because the cloud can move and grow with you.