In the cloud. Cloud storage. Cloud computing.

For many of today’s small business owners, hearing the word “cloud” means shifting the visual from meteorology to technology. What should a small business owner know about cloud computing?

Cloud computing is here and business owners must have a basic understanding of:

  • What cloud computing entails and,
  • If cloud computing is right for their business and,
  • How to assess the risks, rewards, and reasons to use cloud-based applications

To begin, we need to understand what the cloud is.

What is the cloud

The cloud is a term used to describe a set of technology services used for storing and accessing data. When you store your data “in the cloud,” that data is not stored on your PC. These services can either be made from hardware, software, or other systems. Cloud services are typically hosted by a third party and available to people via subscription or on-demand.

You may not think you are familiar with cloud computing. However, there are a number of highly recognized names in this space, such as Google, Microsoft, and Apple, Salesforce, and Amazon. Each offers cloud computing services. In addition, one quick search returns a variety of companies that offer cloud-hosted services.

As you begin to understand the cloud and cloud computing, it is important to then understand why it is important to you, the small business owner.

Why cloud computing is important to a small business owner

miguel-gomez-BizChat-OhioAccording to Miguel Gomez, senior managing director for the Americas at Transom Group  “A small business owner should know that cloud computing can bring tremendous benefit if it’s carefully considered.” For example:

  • Cloud computing relieves the business owner from the worry about selecting, buying, installing, operating and maintaining their own infrastructure.
  • It also offers flexibility and an economical solution as you only pay for what you really need.
  • And, cloud computing relieves a small business from hiring in-house and often costly expertise on staff.

Conversely, while there are many benefits to cloud computing, smart business owners will also take a close look at the risks and determine where their business stands.

Understanding cloud computing risks

As we know, where there is opportunity, there are also risks. Unscrupulous people trying to take advantage of vulnerabilities, whether that be your system or the data and files within.

“As a small business owner, you need to realize that the risk is real.  Despite the size or nature of your business, you might be a target. Don’t think that a simple antivirus software is enough to stop cybersecurity risks,” added Gomez.

Smart business owners should do their homework and investigate further. There are plenty of resources that can lead small business owners to gain more knowledge about cyber threats and data security.

Gomez adds “There are some very good cybersecurity suites that can offer a wide range of protection. And, that protection can be a very affordable price. Price tends to be another misconception. The price of antivirus software doesn’t direct whether that software is effective or not. Some virus protection software programs are little-to-no-cost while others can be quite costly.”

As you can see, there are many aspects a small business owner should know about cloud computing. Trusting your system, data, client information, and the overall security of your company requires that of a trusted advisor. Explore the options, whether that is outsourcing your cloud computing as a managed service to a company such as Transom Group or hiring in-house talent.

Learn more. Listen to the Biz Chat Ohio Podcast Updating Technology to Streamline Business and hear Miguel Gomez share insights for small business owners.

This blog is made possible by Lakeland Community College and the Ohio Small Business Development Center.
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