Cloud computing: A simple guide for small businesses

A man using a MacBook in his office.

Businesses of all sizes, types and industries are becoming more accustomed to getting their IT resources delivered via the internet. Especially for organizations that have begun incorporating a remote or hybrid workforce, cloud computing has become a popular solution that encourages flexibility and increases efficiency.

Cloud computing is the on-demand delivery and accessibility of IT resources. A wide variety of tailored solutions can be implemented onto an existing IT system to ultimately cut down on time and costs. This article will cover the different types of cloud computing and popular cloud solutions for small businesses.

What are the different types of cloud service models?

1. Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS)

IaaS is a type of cloud service that offers storage, networking, and computing resources for businesses. Either you or your IT provider deploys, maintains, and supports the applications, and after, the IaaS provider is responsible for maintaining the infrastructure.

2. Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS)

This cloud computing model allows businesses to build, run, and manage software applications in the cloud. By using a PaaS, this eliminates the need of building and maintaining your own servers and infrastructure. Microsoft Azure is a popular cloud solution for businesses that want a PaaS model. Whether your business is in the healthcare, financial services, non-profit, engineering industry, or more, Microsoft Azure can help your organization grow.

3. Software-as-a-Service (SaaS)

This model is the most well-known out of the three, and this might even be something you use regularly without realizing it. SaaS delivers applications to businesses via an online platform rather than an application download. You only need the platform to access your personal or business data. For example, applications such as Google Workspace, Slack, and Office 365 all fall under this category.

How can your business incorporate cloud computing?

1. Cloud storage

Smaller businesses are at an advantage with the flexibility of their IT infrastructure. By backing up your most sensitive data to the cloud, there’s no longer a need for external hard drives or physical infrastructure that’s a hassle to maintain. Storing data in the cloud makes remote work more accessible and makes file sharing a breeze within your company. 

By using applications like Microsoft OneDrive, there’s no longer a need for on-site server maintenance. This reduces your company’s on-site infrastructure investment and significantly decreases the risk of system failure, giving you peace of mind and more funds to allocate elsewhere.

2. Cloud data backup 

As companies begin to incorporate more technology, they’ll search for the best options for cloud data backup. In a survey report by UniTrends, a company specializing in backup and business continuity, they expect businesses that operate 100% cloud-hosted workloads to increase by 70% by 2023.

By regularly backing up business data to the cloud, this strengthen’s your company’s business continuity plan and disaster recovery plan (DRP). Cloud computing gives you peace of mind by providing an additional layer of off-site data protection because your data is encrypted and stored securely.

3. Cloud hosting

Cloud computing offers more than cloud storage and cloud data backup. With cloud hosting, a network of connected cloud servers hosts the application or website to give you more flexibility and scalability. As with all cloud computing models and services, having a strong internet connection will allow you to collaborate, back up data, and complete tasks remotely.

A popular business communications solution is Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) phone services. Instead of needing a landline and a physical phone, VoIP allows you to communicate with your team and clients over the internet. For example, Intermedia Unite cloud communications platform offers VoIP phone service for businesses. So, you can communicate how you want, wherever you want. Intermedia Unite is a business phone, video conferencing platform, team chat, and file management software, and perfectly complements Microsoft Teams.

Cloud computing for businesses

There are many business cloud computing options to choose from, so it’s essential to research your options before moving to the cloud. Whether you’re looking for better collaborative tools, advanced security, or a better backup and disaster recovery plan, we offer expert IT advice to help your business take that next step. Learn how to implement cloud computing services for your business by scheduling a free IT consultation today.

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