“What’s the cloud?” “Where is the cloud?” “Are we working the cloud now?”
Are you still unsure of what this “cloud” is all about?……
The term “cloud computing” is everywhere, you could even say it’s the “buzz-word for the 21st century”, although about 2 years ago I was also asking myself the same questions. I know now that I was already working in the cloud and so were my colleagues. There’s a good chance you are already regularly using Cloud technology on your PC, laptop or mobile device. Think email sites like gmail and yahoo, these are all cloud based. What about Dropbox online storage, iCloud backup or social media sites such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, again all Cloud based technology.
Zach Nelson, CEO of cloud software vendor NetSuite, explains to IT Pro: “In its most basic fundamental form, cloud is the internet as a business or consumer platform. On top of that, a whole host of new services, consumer and business, are being built. It is the next stage of the evolution of the internet.”
Cloud technology broadly means that you access your data online as opposed to it being stored on your local hard drive. The difference being that you need an internet connection. With an online connection, cloud computing can be done anywhere, anytime. This is a fantastic technology creating seamless workflow opportunities. It means we can travel more and stay connected, an invaluable asset for small businesses. However, like all new technologies it also raises some questions in regards to the security and ownership of data. Cloud Computing helps you do business “on the go”.
– Most Cloud software is available on smart phones and devices, and describe themselves as ‘on the go’. For example Xero Small Business Accounting Software is available on your mobile. This allows you to be able to see how much a client owes you at the exact moment you walk through the door to visit them.
– Practically all of the online accounting systems are able to be integrated with other software and systems, and have pre-fill abilities, which frees up some more of your valuable time. Most even have add-ins that are like apps for your accounting software. -They also allow for real time reporting and information, so you can see exactly how you’re travelling this month, week, day, hour, minute.
– Cloud commerce is greener than traditional methods because there is no production, packaging, or freight. This can also allow some staff members work from home more often, which not only helps to lower carbon emissions, but keeps your staff happy in a flexible workplace.
Who owns your data? Is your data safe? What is the security like?
– The big programs are known for their ‘bank level’ security, and being remote, you don’t have to worry about backing up data and storing it somewhere else in case the office burns down!
– Do your research into the location of the data (as many are located offshore in countries with more relaxed privacy laws) and if there have been any major issues in the past.
Brad Paterson, Intuit Vice President and Managing Director Asia-Pacific tells Dynamic Business that he doesn’t believe any new business would indeed opt for the desktop package over cloud. “It’s being used still by older businesses, and they’re mostly looking to move to cloud as well,” he says.
Of course, cloud computing is big business for all size businesses. The market is on its way to generating $100 billion a year.
Scott Phillips, SMH recently said “The industry will only continue to grow as more and more businesses and consumers recognise the benefits of shifting computing needs to the cloud. At the same time, companies seeking to offer these services will enter the industry to meet those needs. Cloud computing is a large and growing global industry.” “Computing is quickly shifting to the cloud in nearly every way imaginable. It will be a long transition, as cloud computing can only be truly ubiquitous once connectivity is available everywhere. Mobile networks are facilitating this rather well, but there’s still a long way to go.”
By starting OneCloud Accounts, I’m a great believer of Cloud Accounting and the incredibly positive benefits it can offer small businesses. I’m passionate about helping Small Businesses find better, more streamlined ways to be more organised and do their daily accounting inevitably leaving more time to grow the business. Could Cloud Accounting be what you are looking for to free up your time? I look forward to hearing your thoughts.
Monday 11 August 2014