3 ways cloud computing is impacting the small business landscape

By Georgia McLintock

Regardless of your opinions on the cloud, there’s a good chance that you’ve both used it and benefited from it if you use the internet in either your personal or professional life. Whether you’re uploading pictures to social media, logging on to a music streaming platform or sharing documents on Google Drive, the cloud has changed how individuals and businesses alike connect with their information online.

As a small business owner, you might be wondering: is converting your business to the cloud worth the time, energy and potential expenses? Keeping up with these tech trends might mean that you’re required to change your usual workflows or production processes to better match the capabilities of your new digital tools and services.

Those who have decided to switch to cloud computing, however, find that this piece of technology boasts a number of benefits that overshadow any possible disadvantages. Plus, since recent studies indicate that as many as 77% of enterprise companies host some or all of their infrastructure on the cloud, cloud migration is more relevant than ever before.

Unlike many new pieces of technology, which have price tags that limit their accessibility to larger business with ample resource allocations, cloud computing serves as an equalizer. Now more than ever, SMB owners can use this technology to remain competitive with larger entities in their industry and area, all without having to increase monthly expenses.

Continue reading to learn more about the ways that cloud computing is creating a more competitive small business ecosystem.

Worldwide connection

Whether you have clients oversees or employees working in the next town over, the cloud helps small businesses connect with people and organizations, often resulting in better-aligned goals and more effective communication. Cloud computing relies on off-site servers to store, host and share information, meaning that small businesses are no longer anchored to the resources and tools that they previously could only access in the office.

Although it’s still a relatively unknown tool on the market, cloud-based Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) is just one tool that small businesses can learn about to help them stay better connected, both internally and externally. Voice over IP performs the same correlative functions as your office phone, the only difference being that VoIP transmits call services via the cloud. This means that VoIP users can communicate with others through their smartphone, laptop or tablet wherever they may be—as long as they have access to an internet connection.

It’s clear that cloud connectivity can promote company-wide unity and organization, but its implications also extend to individual departments. Small business HR departments, as an example, enjoy the instant updates, remote accessibility and communication channels that cloud-based Human Resource Information Systems (HRIS) provide. While these types of platforms are effective at a local level, the cloud allows small businesses to maximize the potential that each tool offers to ensure that their teams and customers are as connected as possible.

Security risk mitigation

Small businesses rarely have the resources or time capacity to juggle both day-to-day operations and proper cybersecurity. However, the modern business climate requires that small businesses take the necessary precautions to protect their online information, as 43% of all cyberattacks target small businesses. Many of these attacks carry long-lasting or even fatal repercussions for their victims.

Switching to cloud computing solutions is one piece of a larger, holistic cybersecurity strategy that small and medium-sized businesses should use to safeguard their confidential information. Cloud computing allows SMB owners to enjoy the benefits of an IT management team without the expenses of actually hiring one. Because cloud servers are hosted off-site, your company’s assets will be monitored by these IT professionals at all times, which helps your online profiles stay compliant and up-to-date on online security protocol.

When it comes to your company’s cybersecurity, it’s important to remember that your defense is only as strong as its weakest link. Employees who are not savvy to the many strategies hackers use could trigger breaches that give these thieves access to both your employees’ personal information as well as company data. By hiring a cloud provider, they ensure that their information is being handled by professionals, many of which having ample training and certifications in keeping online information secure.

Greater flexibility and efficiency

Perhaps above all other benefits, your employees will appreciate the work flexibility made possible by cloud services. Today’s small business landscape has experienced significant shifts in both where and when individuals accomplish their work. In a survey conducted Zenefits, 67% of participants reported that their workplace offered some variety of flexible work, be it remote opportunities or personal adjustments to the traditional 9 to 5 schedule.

What are the benefits of a more flexible small business environment? For employers, flexible work often contributes to surges in productivity levels, as employees can work wherever they find themselves most efficient—including a spiffy new home office. Additionally, by relying on a larger remote workforce, your business can cut down on the physical space needed, thereby lowering monthly costs for renting out larger offices.

As opposed to business tools of the past, cloud-hosted services run a much lower risk for small businesses looking to grow. Unlike enterprises, which often have a considerable cushion in the event of failure, small businesses can’t afford costly mistakes caused by poor investments in resources that ultimately don’t work for their business. Many cloud services are subscription-based, meaning that SMB owners can use these tools as long as they are needed without having to pay a hefty sum upfront. This new purchase model can help you make the most of your resources, which could be exactly what your business needs to stay ahead of the pack.


As an online business writer, Georgia McLintock shares her knowledge of the business ecosystem—from enterprise organizations to individual freelancers. Topics that are of particular interest to her include internal communication, employee engagement and artificial intelligence.

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