Small Business Guides

Understanding cloud computing

3 min read

Cloud computing got you perplexed? You’re not alone. Most of us talk about ‘the cloud’ without even realizing what it really means. We’re clearing the air on cloud computing and how it can benefit your small business.

So what is the cloud?

The cloud is where you put all your data, all your files and even your software so you can access it all from any computer or device, anywhere, at any time. See the difference the cloud can make in how you work, bank, communicate, sell and buy.

  • Traditional banking vs internet banking
    It used to be the case that your financial data was only available to you when you were physically at the bank. With internet banking, your financial data is available online in the cloud. You can access it anytime, anywhere and on any device.
  • Traditional mail vs web mail
    Traditionally, your correspondence was only available at the post office. Web mail means that your mail is available whenever you’re online. You can send an email anytime, from anywhere and on any device.
  • Traditional filing vs cloud storage
    Your files used to only be accessible at the office. With online or cloud storage, your files are conveniently available for you whenever you’re online at anytime, from anywhere.
  • Traditional shopping vs online shopping
    When your physical business is only open at limited times and places then customers have a limited time frame to view and buy your products. With online shopping, customers can enjoy the convenience of being able to view products and shop anytime, anywhere and on any device.
  • Traditional accounting software vs cloud accounting software
    With traditional desktop software, your data lives on your computer or laptop. This means it’s only available at limited times and on limited devices – and often to a limited number of people. With cloud software, your data lives online, so it’s always accessible from anywhere at any time if you have an internet connection. Good cloud software will also let an unlimited number of people use it at the same time.

Cloud myth busting

The cloud isn’t all rainbows and sunshine, we’re tackling the tough questions about cloud computing so you can be prepared before moving your small business to the cloud.

  • Isn’t cloud computing just the internet?
    You use the internet to connect your device to the cloud, but the internet is just the connection – the cloud is where your data lives.
  • Isn’t is possible to lose your data in the cloud?
    Your data is actually much safer in the cloud than on your computer. Your computer can be stolen or corrupted quite easily, but cloud companies spend millions on systems and experts to protect your data.
  • Isn’t ‘the cloud’ an Apple product?
    Apple has a product called iCloud which uses cloud technology, but many other companies provide products in the cloud such as Google, Dropbox and Xero.
  • Aren’t you stuck if the internet goes down?
    These days, the internet is like electricity – it’s very rare for it to go down and when it does you just have to wait a short time for it to be available again. In the meantime, all your data is safe in the cloud.
  • Isn’t cloud computing just a fad?
    The cloud has been around for years and it’s only getting bigger. Internet banking started over 15 years ago. Now the technology is so fast and cheap that it’s being used for everything.
  • Isn’t cloud computing expensive?
    It’s much cheaper because you only pay for what you use. You’re not paying for endless upgrades, system maintenance, support fees or additional hardware like backup systems.
  • Don’t I lose control of my data?
    You actually have much more control of your data, since you can access, share and work with your info, anywhere, anytime, on any device. You also control who has access – which you can revoke in an instant.
  • Isn’t the cloud only for tech people?
    The cloud is much easier for everyone – you just log in and it works. Imagine: you don’t have to install files, worry about versions, or deal with patches and upgrades. Just log in.

Let the cloud set you free

As you can see, the big benefit of cloud computing is that it lets you get at your data anytime, anywhere. The cloud breaks the chain between your office computer and your business information.

Need access to your business bank account while you're on the move? No problem with the cloud. Want to buy office supplies while you're on the train? It's easy. Need to update your accounts while you're out of the office? Now you can.

With the cloud there's no need to keep all your files and applications on a single computer – no need to worry about backups, theft, data loss, support and upgrades. It's all taken care of by dedicated teams of technical people. You no longer have to worry about what's happening behind the scenes.

The cloud takes the stress out of computing. It lets you use computers, laptops, tablets, smartphones and other devices to access all your business information – seamlessly, securely and in real time. Just log in and go, anytime and anywhere.

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