When most people talk about the benefits of the cloud, they focus on how it can help save businesses money. But have you ever stopped to think how having constant, on-demand access to your most important data and files might also help you save a lot of time?
If you’re anything like me, you frequently wish you could add more hours the day. While there’s no magic potion or time machine to make that dream a reality, there are several time-saving benefits of the cloud.
Time-Saving Benefit of the Cloud #1: Avoid Downtime
Unexpected downtime is probably the number one productivity killer for you and your employees. Technology is great, but if it doesn’t work, it can be a real headache. Especially if you maintain your systems, but technology is not the focus of your business. In this case, when something unexpectedly goes down, you probably can’t jump right in and solve the issue without first doing some troubleshooting or research into what’s causing the problem. This not only extends the downtime, but it can also be very frustrating.
When you turn to the cloud, system management becomes the responsibility of your vendor. Because they know their success depends on giving clients a positive, reliable experience, cloud vendors spend a great deal of time and money to make sure their infrastructure can support their user’s needs.
Usually, they’ll offer an SLA, or service level agreement. This means they guarantee a certain amount of uptime, often around 99%. And if something prevents them from reaching this benchmark, they will issue users a credit on their bill.
Time-Saving Benefit of the Cloud #2: Eliminate Hardware and Software Maintenance
Just like handling downtime is your responsibility when you manage your own systems, so too is giving them the regular maintenance, they need. And, often the more complex or outdated your systems are, the more there is for you to do.
Even if you or your IT team work hard to maintain your critical software and hardware, there will come a day where you’ll have to replace them. Depending on the system you’re replacing, this may be fast, or it may be something that could take months, as is often the case with complex software, like ERP or CRM.
Instead of staying up late at night wondering what you’ll do when your current system breaks down. Then, waiting months for a new one, you can permanently free yourself from this worry by moving to the cloud. Again, software maintenance and server upkeep become the responsibility of your vendor. All you need to do is give your employees tools they can use to access the cloud services, like computers smartphones or tablets.
Time-Saving Benefit of the Cloud #3: Built in Security and Compliance
If yours is like most small businesses, you probably have some basic security measures in place on your most important systems. But you might struggle to keep up with the latest trends or cyber security threats. This is understandable. Consider this, if you were to be the victim of a cyber security attack, how much time and energy would you and your team spend cleaning up the aftermath? The number of hours is probably easily into the hundreds, the effects of which would ripple throughout your business.
When you move to the cloud, your vendor has invested a lot of time and energy in making sure you and your customers’ data will be kept safe. They understand if your critical data gets compromised, it will negatively affect their reputation. That’s why most cloud vendors offer top tier security at no additional cost. On their own, most small businesses cannot come close to matching the security offered by reputable cloud vendors.
Time-Saving Benefit of the Cloud #4: Hands-Free Updates
We touched on this one earlier, but I cannot overstate the benefits it provides. When you manage a complex software system like ERP on your own, you oversee updating the software or getting the help of an outside consultant to do so. And the longer you go between updates, the more difficult and time-consuming the process will become.
But, with many cloud systems, updates happen automatically. So, you can enjoy new features with minimal interruption.
Time-Saving Benefit of the Cloud #5: Anywhere, Anytime Availability
It often seems like we have more demands on our time now than we ever did before. So, more and more people are looking for a balance between their work and personal lives. One way one way to do this is to allow your workers to work when and where it makes sense for them. Studies show when employees can choose their own schedule, they are much more productive. However, if they still rely on software systems housed on a server you own, your employees can probably only access it when they are in the office, not necessarily when inspiration strikes.
The cloud helps break down these barriers. True cloud software is available on any device with an Internet connection. Thus, allowing your employees to work from wherever they are, at home, the airport, on a train, you name it.
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