by Matthew Edenhofer, Director of Information Technology, Balboa Capital
As technology continues to advance, it’s no surprise that new ways of doing business emerge. Although adjusting to new technologies can be challenging for some, companies that incorporate the latest trends and technologies in IT will gain an advantage over their competitors.
Currently there is a major shift in the computer software industry that is presenting efficient and effective solutions to companies of all sizes: Cloud software. Cloud-based software is fast-becoming the preferred choice for businesses seeking convenient and affordable ways to manage important data and run business applications.
Reach for the Cloud
It’s very likely you have heard of cloud-based software. Some of the biggest, most well-known brands are using cloud-based technology, and for good reason. Cloud-based software, or web-based software, allows you to run multiple computer applications over the Internet, without having to install or maintain software on your business hardware. This means you can run operations and access business files anytime with just an Internet connection and browser, whether on a desktop computer, laptop or mobile device.
There are many ways that businesses like yours are increasing their productivity by incorporating cloud computing into their business operations. The following are five ways cloud-based software can benefit your growing business.
When using traditional in-house software and servers, your software and computing capabilities are limited to what your IT department can manage and the physical limitations of your business space. Plus, buying new hardware and managing software updates can be time-consuming and doesn’t allow you to effectively utilize your IT resources.
Cloud-based software allows business owners to run a number of applications over the Internet, from word processing to email communications, depending on the business needs. For those businesses that rely on the most up-to-date information, whether in sales, accounting or customer service, cloud software allows users to access real-time data from any location. Cloud-based software also provides extensive data storage capacity online, eliminating the need to acquire new hardware and servers.
The myriad capabilities offered with cloud-based software are available in several unique platforms. The Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) model affords your business the most convenience and flexibility. However, there are other approaches that can be used for your business. Following is an overview of the top-three:
Software as a Service (SaaS): The SaaS cloud computing model is managed completely by the vendor. Everything related to your cloud software, from business applications and upgrades to servers and data storage, is handled by the SaaS provider.
Platform as a Service (PaaS): With PaaS cloud computing, you can create, customize and manage business applications for your company with the help of preexisting tools and framework. Your PaaS vendor will handle storage, networking, etc.
Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS): This cloud setup focuses exclusively on virtual data storage. The IaaS cloud vendor provides cloud-based servers, network and storage equipment, and you add the necessary business software and related application.
Security of important data is a concern for any business owner; however, cloud-based software can help minimize security risks by storing data safely on hosted secure servers instead of your server room. Since servers are not located onsite, unexpected power outages and service interruptions will have no impact on the security of your business data.
However, in the event that files are misplaced or compromised, many cloud-based software providers provide disaster recovery and backup to ensure your business continues to run as efficiently as possible.
As your business grows, your software and programming requirements may change. It is important that your computing infrastructure can accommodate your business needs seamlessly. As you know, repairing hardware and upgrading software demands tremendous support from your internal IT staff.
Cloud-based software simplifies software implementation and maintenance with no installation, setup, or daily upkeep.
Whether your business is experiencing a spike in growth or a period of slow sales, it is important that resources are allocated efficiently. With cloud-based software, your business can increase or decrease computing capacities at any time without investing in new software, servers, or additional IT personnel and training. Using cloud-based software frees up your time to focus on what is most important: running your business.
Nowadays business is conducted everywhere. Cloud-based software enables you to run your business away from the office or store location, whether you are on your laptop, personal computer or mobile device. Since data and files are consolidated into one place online, users can collaborate on business projects from any location.
Your business applications can be accessed online the same way you would access a website or social media site. With traditional software, updates in applications must be installed one computer system at a time. This can create interruptions in daily business activities. With one change to an application “in the cloud,” you and your employees will automatically have access to the most up-to-date software version in real-time.
Adopting cloud-software provides your business with a low cost way to add new software tools and increase storage capacity without having to invest in expensive computer hardware and servers. When you reduce the number of computer systems and the size of your server room, electricity consumption decreases dramatically. This can amount to thousands of dollars in savings per year for your business.
System administration and maintenance that come with traditional software are very costly and require a tremendous amount of IT support. With cloud software there is no need to spend countless hours and weekends on computer and software upgrades. The software company actually takes care of the software upkeep for you.
Depending on your needs, cloud software can be acquired through a monthly or annual subscription. Other costs associated include training and additional storage capacities. Most importantly, cloud software offers a way to manage computing expenses without compromising the quality of service you provide to your customers.
Matthew Edenhofer joined Balboa Capital in 2005, bringing 8 years of Information Technology experience to the company. His accomplishments at Balboa Capital include implementing and customizing the front end prospecting system, called Saleslogix, automating reports to upper management providing vital key metrics data and trends, implementing a backup and restore strategy that includes a disaster recovery model, and effectively managing Information Technology operations to maximize the company’s overall productivity and efficiency.