How Cloud Computing Helps Small Entrepreneurs
As a young entrepreneur who has just started a business, your biggest problem is lack of capital. You’re likely to find yourself burdened with the costs of new software licenses, new computer hardware, servers, routers and so on. Till recently, a small entrepreneur had no choice but to pay for expensive new licenses for business applications ranging from simple software such as word processors or email management to the more complicated CRM or ERP software. Also prohibitive was the cost of software upgrades for a young business entrepreneurship. But the advent of Cloud Computing, because of the massive increase in broadband speeds and processing power over the past few years, offers a way out of this conundrum, helping a small entrepreneurship cut costs majorly, with a few other important benefits as well. We tell you just how Cloud Computing helps a small entrepreneur. Read on!
What is Cloud Computing, exactly?
In an earlier era, when the internet was still in its infancy, a small business extrepreneurship used to purchase software or software licenses, just as you would purchase a DVD disc to be played in your DVD player. Every few years, the software license had to be upgraded – just like buying new DVDs to replace the old ones. What has changed with Cloud Computing is that, businesses no longer have to buy new software licenses or products. All the software required by a business is run by a third-party provider or a Cloud Computing service provider, and you may access it through the internet and run it on your internet browser.
With Cloud Computing, young entrepreneurs have access to all the software that they need, without ever having to actually buy or own the software. This is more like renting a service rather than buying a product. Technically, a Cloud Computing service provider works by racking up thousands of servers in a large Data Center, all connected to each other and to your computer through the internet, that provide all the processing power that you need, through the “cloud”. Cloud Computing is also known as “Software as a Service” or SaaS and the Cloud Computing industry is one of the fastest growing tech sectors, already worth over $20 billion in sales a year.
Let’s discuss what Cloud Computing does for your business in entrepreneurship.
Cuts down the cost of IT support
Earlier, small entrepreneurs were forced to hire an IT support team with a couple of software engineers at least, to take care of their IT systems. Now, with Cloud Computing, that is no longer required. The Cloud Computing service provider usually has a dedicated IT support team that takes care of all of your IT problems. Usually a phone call or an email is all it takes to alert them about an issue, and before you know it, it is taken care of.
As David S Linthicum, SVP, Cloud Technology Partners and the host of the highly successful Cloud Computing Podcast, explains, "With cloud, you have the ability to push the operational IT work to other people. This shifts the risk to the cloud provider and away from the enterprise, which is a good thing. By effectively outsourcing the technology, you're reducing the risk, and unexpected expense, associated with your in-house IT (even if it's just a couple of laptops) going wrong. Thus, you can focus on the core issues around IT: defining and implementing core business processes."
Huge Financial Benefits
As already discussed, a small entrepreneur no longer has to buy expensive software licenses or upgrades because of Cloud Computing. He can easily afford to get all his software requirements by paying a nominal monthly or yearly sum, or subscription fee. The advantage is that, the Cloud Computing service provider always has the latest version of the software, so a small entrepreneurship is always assured of getting the latest technology.
As Mr. Linthicum says, "I don't have to continually purchase hardware and software to keep up with capacity requirements. Cloud computing provides you with the ability to expand or contract the number of resources you're leveraging. Thus, the spend on technology - which used to be a major capital expense for even small businesses - now becomes an operational expense. The biggest benefit of cloud computing is agility, the ability to change, to adapt to the emerging needs of the business."
Work from a beach or on a flight
Because of Cloud Computing, a young entrepreneur no longer has to only work in his office. He can make the world his office! Because all the software required is in the cloud, he can work from a beach in Spain while on a vacation there, or from a trans-continental flight.
Easy and Effective Collaboration
With Cloud Computing, you can collaborate with colleagues, clients, business partners or suppliers spread over a wide geography. You can easily share access to your cloud workspaces with your business partner who is several thousand miles away in China or India. This allows you to work on documents, proposals, presentations, etc. with your business partner, no matter where they are.
World Class Cyber-Security
The best cloud computing service providers have world class cyber-security systems installed. You don’t have to fear data theft or violation of copyrighted material. You can share your data with your partner in business freely without fear. However, here’s a caveat – the security is NOT perfect for all cloud computing service providers.
We conclude with another quote from David Linthicum, a bonafide Cloud Computing expert, and listen to his views on security in Cloud Computing: " There are no complete guarantees when moving to cloud computing. The comfort factor will come, with time, as we understand the true reliability of leveraging public clouds. You are opening a key aspect of your business to a third party, and it's your duty to yourself to minimise the risk of doing so. Rest assured, if that third party is reliable, they will do a better job of looking after your data than you could by yourself.”