Much has been made in recent years regarding the growth of cloud accounting and computing. Simply stated, ‘cloud computing’ is the practice of storing information and applications online instead of a local computer or office server. Here at Catalyst QuickBooks and Enterprise Solutions we increasingly utilize Cloud9 Real Time for hosting Intuit accounting and tax preparation software and client files and we love it.
“Although ostensibly the term cloud computing sounds like some futuristic concept that is decades away, many individuals utilize cloud services every day, from web-based email, music and video to gaming sites that allow you to play high performance games on low-end machines,” writes tech watcher Rob Boirun at his BurnWorld Blog.
As we have increasingly discovered (as have our clients as well) that cloud computing makes tremedous sense for businesses of all sizes, as a reliable cloud service offers increased flexibility and security at a price clearly lower than the ‘old paradigm’ of locally installed and maintained hardware and the obligatory incessesant software upgrades.
Rob Boirun continues with five good reasons to love the cloud –
Examples of cloud computing programs in business include SaaS, file storage, online backup storage, file syncing, and customer relationship management. In fact, it is now possible for companies to create their own private cloud, which is used to provide specialized services unique to a specific group of employees.
Cloud computing allows people to access data and documents from any computer, tablet or smart phone, as long as they have a working internet connection. This is especially helpful when working on collaborative projects, as documents can be simultaneously viewed and edited from widely disparate locations. The automatic software updates that come with cloud software also make it easier to keep up with current regulations and compliance laws.
Cloud computing is more cost-effective than traditional software. Instead of purchasing and installing programs onto various devices, the software exists on a remote server. Use of the software is on a subscription basis rather than purchasing the software outright. In other words, businesses are required to pay for the service only when it is required. This saves money and provides the flexibility to scale up or down as demand fluctuates. For companies that have seasonal spikes, cloud computing provides a distinct advantage over buying software.
Another major benefit from utilizing the cloud is the doing away with server and hard drive constraints. Cloud computing businesses offer varying degrees of storage, and upgrading capacity is simply a matter of paying a higher monthly fee. Conversely, increasing storage space by traditional means would involve purchasing expensive equipment and installation costs. Maintenance expenditures are also eliminated as all the storage equipment is owned by the cloud computing provider. There is no need for a specialist IT staff to fix bugs and install upgrades relative to the software. An example of this type of storage is SugarSync.
4. Security and Backup
Cloud software cannot be pirated as the program is hosted on a single centralized server. These servers are extremely resilient and hosted over multiple countries, making it highly unlikely that data will be lost or inaccessible. Moreover, the cost of security is defrayed as the provider is responsible for maintaining the integrity of the system. As the cloud computing provider’s business is dependent on keeping client data secure, these measures are often complex and impossible to crack.
5. Green Credentials
In a recent study by Microsoft, cloud computing was purported to reduce carbon emissions for businesses by as much as 30 percent. This is primarily due to the energy savings garnered from utilizing the cloud in lieu of an entire in-house server. Going green saves your company money while at the same time can be used as an effective marketing strategy to clients looking for more responsible businesses.
So regardless of what reasons you use the Cloud just know that this type of storage and ways to interact with your data is the way of the future.