Webinar Recap: Why Your Business Toolbox Should Include Cloud

To help owners improve the way they run their businesses, CenturyLink Business held a live webinar on the value cloud services bring to small and mid-sized businesses. Small business experts spoke in-depth about cloud services from several perspectives, and three major topics emerged from the discussion: Collaboration, Productivity and Security.

Collaboration

“Most business owners are looking for simplification of their IT services,” said Scott Hamilton, of CenturyLink’s Cloud Applications Group, during the recent webinar.

Hamilton emphasized collaboration as a benefit of using hosted cloud applications because of the ability “to work with a team effectively to conduct your business, no matter where they are located or what type of device they are on.”

SMB owners expect their cloud-based tools to deliver various collaborative capabilities that allow them to participate in meetings remotely—by dialing in, using video conferencing or quickly contacting a colleague not on the call to clarify a point or update the status of a project.

Productivity

Productivity was another benefit of a more integrated, cross-platform approach to cloud applications. “If I want to open a file on my iPhone and work on it while at the airport, I should be able to grab it again on my laptop at the hotel and continue to make more changes to that same document. That’s what real productivity looks like,” said Rich Cannon, who works in Microsoft’s cloud and hosting business.

Real time Mobile access to the most up-to-date versions of files, information and content provides immediate access to the tools people need to do their jobs, allowing them to work faster and get things done quicker.

Security

Cloud security was discussed in detail by the speakers. According to one instant poll posted during the webinar, over 70% of the webinar participants felt that free cloud applications presented at least some security vulnerabilities. Both speakers agreed that cloud applications serviced by reputable companies, with accessible technical support, provide much-needed relief to business owners when it comes to the technical side of managing software, including security.

A related security benefit of cloud-based tools discussed by the webinar presenters was disaster preparedness. Hamilton described the pain he witnessed while helping small businesses recover from Hurricane Katrina. He emphasized how storing documents and files—particularly critical ones—in the cloud can keep them safe and readily accessible in the event of an unforeseen disaster, such as a storm, fire or flood.

Tune into the webinar recording to learn how cloud applications can benefit your business.