How Can The Right Cloud Services Boost Small Business Productivity?

by Lynnette Nolan | Nov 25, 2013

For most companies, switching to cloud-based services to manage their business operations can help increase productivity while lowering operating costs. The earliest adopters were technology and marketing companies, but cloud services offer advantages to all small- and medium-sized businesses.                                             

Managing your business in the cloud is all about having the flexibility to access company information from a variety of devices. That’s according to an article on the Mashable website, a leading online news source covering social media and digital technology. For some companies, this access can make working with remote employees more efficient. Having instant access to up-to-date analytics allows owners and managers to streamline their decision-making, helping them spot potential problems and nurture customer relationships.

As cloud services become less expensive, many are proving more cost-effective than time-consuming manual processes or buying similar software outright. For SMBs, “cloud services are so much cheaper and more within their bootstrapped budgets,” Ilana Eberson, founder and CEO of B3 Global, says in the Mashable article. By using cloud-based automatic data backup, for example, companies don’t need to worry about losing valuable data when a computer crashes or a mobile phone goes missing.

As more cloud services and platforms are created, however, many of these tools can be misunderstood and misused. Dropbox, for instance, doesn’t actually provide the same services as Carbonite. Dropbox makes it easy for coworkers to share and sync files but is not a backup solution. Carbonite provides security, automatically backing up a company’s valuable data offsite in the cloud and allows businesses to access their files remotely.

As businesses adopt different cloud services to improve facets of their operations, keeping an eye on the big picture can be difficult, and having 10 different logins can become overwhelming. One relatively new tool, Informly, aims to provide a meaningful interface for small businesses by presenting high-level data from their various cloud services — a one-stop shop that would probably increase productivity and decrease frustration.

It’s important to remember, however, that the cloud offers no one-size-fits-all solution for small businesses. In the end, SMBs need to have a full understanding of what these tools offer — from backup to file-sharing and collaboration to analytics — in order to select the best fit for their business needs.

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