3 cloud computing tips for small businesses

November 17, 2014

One of the major impacts that cloud computing is having on the business world is that it's allowing small businesses to get a leg up on their bigger competitors by making their operations more agile while reducing costs. As commerce becomes more data driven for even the simplest of businesses, IT is essential. Yet for many small business, building out a comprehensive IT infrastructure is just not possible due to the upfront and maintenance costs.

Small businesses have to do whatever they can to compete with more well-equipped enterprises while staying lean and cost efficient, and the cloud is a powerful way to do it. Here are three tips for small business owners who are considering adopting cloud computing solutions for their company.

Understand the business's needs first
It can be difficult to know which cloud applications should be considered – there are so many that decision paralysis can set in quickly. The Hartford Business Journal recommended decision makers look at what the business' current IT infrastructure does and see what cloud solutions match it. This will help limit the field of choices to just what the business needs, keeping costs low through the avoidance of unnecessary services..

Ensure security is in line with business needs
Even though the business world is starting to get more comfortable with the idea of cloud computing, many managers and executives are still leery of moving forward with it due to security concerns. They want the functionality and agility of the cloud, but are worried their data could be compromised.

The Guardian reported that this fear can be assuaged by doing due diligence and researching a potential provider's service level agreements. Asking if the provider has ISO 27001 certification as well as PCI:DSS compliance can also be a difference maker if a business has sensitive data needs.

For businesses with more sensitive data, it is also worth finding out where the data is housed. Managers who want to take extra precautions should know the geographic location of the data center for regulatory and legal purposes in case of a breach or other compliance issues.

Cross-platform functionality is a must
With the BYOD workplace becoming more commonplace, a business looking for cloud solutions should make sure the provider's service spans across all platforms. Employees become more productive and responsive when they can access workflows and data through their own mobile devices at their convenience. If an application doesn't work on a smartphone or tablet, it could severely hamstring the employees' efforts.