Cloud hosting is not only inevitable but also beneficial for Australian SMEs, according to the latest MYOB Business Monitor.
Figures show that 27% of SMEs using cloud computing saw their revenue increase in the last 12 months, compared to 20% of non-cloud users. They are also more likely to expect increased revenue in the year ahead (39% as opposed to 27%).
Storage and application hosting based on the web rather than your computer hard drive might have plenty of benefits, but it also has a few pitfalls for the unwary.
So consider these tips, and make sure you are prepared for taking flight to the cloud.
Considerations for choosing a cloud service provider
- Security. Make sure your provider is ultra-secure when it comes to protecting your business data.
- Reliability. Make sure your provider offers efficient network connectivity and owns their entire cloud infrastructure.
- Internet speed. The latest MYOB Business Monitor showed that 24% of Australian businesses surveyed are dissatisfied with the speed of their internet connection. So check what your provider is offering. Without fast and reliable internet connection, the cloud cannot operate effectively.
- Integration. Find a provider offering easy integration of existing network resources into the cloud app server.
- Ease of use and customer service. Make sure the system on offer is intuitive and simple to use, while offering rock-solid customer service to you and your employees.
- Cost. Does the provider have transparent pricing policies offering value for money? Check all upfront costs and ensure there are no hidden extras. Do comparison costs between different provider packages.
Backing up your data
As your data is stored on the cloud, traditional methods of backing up are not necessary. That’s the theory anyway. Major cloud providers are pretty foolproof when it comes to security, but many critics still advocate keeping a hard copy of your data – just in case. A data loss prevention plan is definitely worth having in a world of ever more complex hacking. Outages and technical errors also happen, so don’t take any chances.
Keeping your employees in the loop
Switching to the cloud can be a daunting prospect. You might know what’s going on, but it’s imperative your employees do too. They will need training in the new procedures, especially file sharing and information security.
Cutting back on infrastructure
The cloud means reduced reliance on clunky office technology. You can access and transfer information without the need for large desktop hard drives and fax machines. Factor all this in when allocating your budget.
Choose software for maximum efficiency
Streamline your programs and applications to get the most out of the cloud. Make use of eFax online faxing, which enables you to send faxes worldwide from any device connected to the internet. Ditch the old fax machine and use state-of-the-art software with unlimited cloud storage and swift data retrieval. Discover how to send large files and high-resolution images to multiple recipients without clogging anyone’s inbox. It’s a whole new world!
Consider breaches of security
In the old days, when a staff member left, you could simply remove access to their desktop computer. With data stored on the cloud, however, access can be gained from any location. Now you need a watertight protocol for changing passwords and eliminating access for all unauthorised users.
Faster, more efficient and streamlined business operation awaits those who know what to avoid along the way. So make the cloud work for you.