Cloud technology has become ubiquitous in business, with an estimated 90% of businesses using cloud-based services in some way. While hardware-based programs require continuous updating, can suffer failures that lead to data loss, and offer far less accessibility for users, cloud technology and storage is the go-to preference for businesses that rely on heavy use of data. It is also a much more cost-effective way for most businesses to store and retrieve data. Business reliance on cloud technology is expected to expand substantially over the next three years.
Some widely-cited reasons business owners offer for adoption of cloud services include: cost effectiveness, improved accessibility, increased productivity, enhanced security, and user friendliness.
Many of the accounting and administrative services that support small businesses also make use of cloud-based technology to deliver immediate, real-time data that can be accessed from anywhere and shared among employees. Small businesses in a wide range of sectors are increasingly outsourcing much of the administrative and accounting work to third-party services that use cloud technology in order to increase efficiency and productivity.
Many online business and accounting services charge on a monthly (and sometimes per-user) basis, enabling businesses to pay only for what they need and use, which is far more convenient and cost-effective than purchasing and maintaining a lot of in-house software. Many cloud-based business services offer “tier” contracts that allow businesses to choose a plan with the features that are best suited to that business’s size and needs, without having to pay for a lot of included “extras.” As a business evolves and grows, switching to a higher-tier plan for additional services is simple and straight-forward.
Software downloaded to computers in an office are limited to specified devices. Cloud-based services allow employees to access their company’s data from any device or location. As more businesses employ remote workers, the need for cloud-based business and accounting services is expected to increase because it provides universal access to real-time data.
Cloud-based services accessed online are fast. Employees spend far less time opening applications and files, updating data, and then sharing information with colleagues and clients. Pertinent information input from one team member becomes immediately available to other team members so that all employees can work together in real time, sharing up-to-date data, even if some are connected remotely. Less time spent accessing, updating and sorting through data leaves more time for productive, profit-boosting activities.
Small businesses and entrepreneurs no longer have to worry about being unable to afford or access the very best business tools that large companies have at their disposal. Accounting and payroll platforms that service large corporations can also be used by even the smallest of enterprises through affordable online plans that store data in a cloud and can be accessed from anywhere. Businesses of all sizes, and in a wide range of sectors, can take advantage of the benefits of automating accounting and administrative tasks.
Security involving personal and company data is an ongoing concern for all businesses. While security breaches do occur, data that is stored, encrypted, and backed up in a cloud server is often safer than data stored on hard drives. Data can be retrieved from anywhere and is not dependent on a particular device to access it. Cloud servers are routinely monitored to detect fraudulent activity, and automatic backup protections enable greater recovery of data when compromises do occur. Data security for cloud technology is continually evolving as the market grows.
Everyone uses the internet, especially at work, and most cloud-based services available to businesses offer an intuitive interface that anyone with an internet connection can learn quickly and easily. Many cloud-based online products also offer on-demand customer service as well, either by phone or online chat, eliminating the need for extensive training. Cloud-based services for businesses perform updates automatically so that business owners do not have to be responsible for software maintenance.
Business services that use cloud-based storage are on the rise. The security, convenience, and cost-effectiveness make cloud services preferable for many businesses. They also enable even the smallest of companies to utilize sophisticated business and accounting services that were once available only to larger, well-funded operations. Cloud adoption is becoming the norm in business, and is only expected to grow over the coming years.