Cloud computing 101
Find out how to determine if cloud computing is right for your business.
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Hi, I’m Tegan Jones for the Wells Fargo Business Insight Series. Today, we’re talking about cloud computing, and how to determine whether it’s right for your business. I’m here with Ramon Ray, editor of SmallBizTechnology.com. Thanks for joining me, Ramon.
Well, thank you for having me. It’s a pleasure to be here talking with you about some great technology for small businesses, so thank you.
So, Ramon, it seems like everybody is talking about cloud computing these days, but what does that really mean?
For me, cloud computing means a few things. But overall, it’s really about — instead of installing software on your local computer or your local server on-premise in your office, that software, those programs are on someone else’s computers, and you’re accessing them remotely through a web browser.
So, what are some of the benefits small business owners can expect to see if they decide to move to the cloud?
Yeah, there’s a lot of benefits, and I like that question, because I think too many times, small businesses do things without looking at the benefits, and you know, cloud computing is one of those things they can do.
But I think there’s a few things. I think one, definitely, there’s going to be a cost savings, to some degree. And I think that cost savings is going to be infrastructure savings — that’s less servers you have to purchase. That savings is also going to be instead of paying, you know, this large upfront fee for a software installation, you can pay that incrementally. So, cash flow savings is going to be.
Point two, I think the big benefit, or the big savings you’re going to have is scalability. You know, Tegan, many small businesses are growing. Some of them — maybe not growing with employees, but they’re hiring 1099s or consultants, so cloud computing enables them to scale.
Another thing is that you don’t have the software to maintain. You know, I’m a small business owner myself, and whether you’re a big company or not, when that server goes down, you have to deal with it, or have somebody else, you know, call somebody else in. But when the software is on somebody else’s servers, they’re maintaining it. So, those are a few good reasons for it. And I think another point that I’ll mention here lastly is the storage and backup. Tegan, as you know and the team there know, it’s real important to back-up and have secure data. So, when you’re using any of these tools that many small businesses use, your software is already on their environment, and so you don’t have to back it up yourself, because the big companies already have it backed up for you and it’s secure.
And let’s talk a little bit about security for a moment.
When a small business owner uses cloud computing software, how can they be confident that their information is being securely shared and stored?
Yeah. No, it’s a great question. I think that, yes, are there problems? Have things happened with online software? Sure. But I think, Tegan, that if small business owners are cognizant of what they’re using and how they’re using it, they’re definitely going to be at peace because the thing is, Tegan, these large companies, they have the vested interest to ensure your data is safe.
So, the choice between the large company storing your information, or you storing your own information and keeping it secure, which one would you choose? And most small businesses would say, “I’d rather let, at least, a larger company that has that expertise store my information.”
So, why would a business owner choose traditional software over cloud computing software?
I think there’s a few reasons for that, and I think that every business owner, definitely, if they’re going to be smart about it, I think they should definitely ask that question. I think that, point one, you know, some traditional software works much better and works much faster on an on-premise server. That’s the bottom line. There’s some applications that, you know what, you may not want to be in the cloud because they don’t perform as well.
Point two is security. You know, maybe you had — maybe you’re doing some government work. Maybe you’re working on, you know, some medical project or whatever it may be. For whatever reason, you may want to make sure that’s under lock and key in your business, on your premises, so you can see it. So, those are really a few of the reasons why. Overall, I think cloud computing is really good for most people. But if you find out, hey, you’re not going to have access to the Internet. If you’re finding out you want to be more secure, or you’re finding out the application simply just runs better on a local server, those are a few reasons why, at least, somebody might want to ask themselves, “Is cloud computing or traditional software for me?”
Right, and if they’re one of those people who decide cloud computing really is the right choice, what do they need to consider to know that they’re picking the right provider?
Right. I think for me, one, longevity, and I think having a brand name means a lot. And I don’t mean like, you know, your kid’s sneakers’ brand name, like that, per se. But, I mean, there’s a lot of larger companies, and even smaller companies that are doing great work, and they’ve been around for a while. So, those kind of names that we know, like and trust, that’s point one, I would say go with them.
I think point two is that, you know, I would also be careful that you don’t be a guinea pig for, you know, some — say a young company just has a new product out. This is great, but let other people try that product first before you try that cloud computing product. That’s point two.
And I think point three, prioritize. You know, maybe you have an email — your email application is a product that you can use in the cloud. But maybe you have a secure application that maybe you say is not for you. So, I think that looking at the brand names, looking at the longevity of the companies behind it, I think those are some good ways to guide and determine who you want to use to back- up, or I should rather say, who you want to use to be your online software provider.
All of that makes a lot of sense. Thanks so much for your time today, Ramon. I think that these tips are really going to help small business owners understand if cloud computing makes sense for them.
I had a lot of fun. Thank you for having me.
And thank you for joining us for this segment of the Wells Fargo Business Insight Series. To learn more about how Wells Fargo Business Banking can help you, visit wellsfargo.com/biz. In the meantime, we wish you continued success.
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