The coronavirus pandemic forces businesses to make drastic changes, and that includes embracing the cloud. For many owners, though, especially small-sized and brick-and-mortar enterprises, the concept can be alien.
For first-time users, this guide can help introduce you to a potent business tool.
What Is a Cloud?
The more tech-savvy may call this cloud computing, but the concept is the same: “cloud” and “cloud computing” refer to the Internet. However, people use the Internet for many reasons:
- Watch music videos or movies for entertainment
- Connect with people
- Build a brand
- Sell products and services
- Share information
- Run the business remotely or anywhere
The definition of cloud computing fits the last five points. It is creating, sharing, and storing different files that are accessible anytime and anywhere. That’s why it’s like the cloud that moves and covers you regardless of where you are.
Here’s how it works:
- Let’s say you’re working on a spreadsheet listing your present customers, and you wish to share it with your employees, who may work from home now.
- You open the cloud (and there are many options out there), and you upload your doc. You can then create a shareable link to let others access it.
- The others who receive the link can then open the file. Depending on the settings, they may also edit it. The changes appear in real-time.
Where does the file go? The data is still in servers but not within the business premises. Instead, they are in data centers that cover acres of land. Companies also need not use physical drives, such as flash or USB drives.
Where Can You Get the Cloud?
There are many examples of the cloud, and it all depends on the kinds of files you wish to store, organize, and share over the Internet. Usually, for project management and collaborations, the following are the most popular:
- Google Drive
- One Drive
- Amazon Drive
Most of these offer free versions, which appeal to small-scale and first-time users. However, upgrades will release some of the best and useful features. They also provide greater flexibility and control to the users.
For those new in cloud computing, they can consider working with a cloud-computing reseller. It will give them access to popular tools at a discount. The team can also help businesses customize such services according to their needs. This way, they get the best value for money.
Who Can Use the Cloud?
Anybody can use the cloud as long as they have a stable Internet connection, which will allow them to access and share data. To open an account, though, users might need to provide their email addresses.
Users are also highly encouraged to choose their cloud platforms well. Because they are on the Internet, they are susceptible to cybercrimes. These include ransomware, malware, and hacking.
Business owners also need to limit the number of users for two reasons. One, the subscription plan may allow only a few people. Second, this method helps reduce the risk of inside jobs and breaches and increases accountability among collaborators.
Most business continuity plans now push for cloud access, which highlights its importance. Hopefully, this basic guide will also give the same message.