What is Cloud Computing?
Maybe you’ve heard of cloud computing. Maybe you already use it. For people that don’t know, cloud computing is a great way for small businesses to utilize IT resources without costs and responsibilities of physical infrastructure. Since we consider ourselves as operating ‘in the cloud,’ we want you to understand what, exactly, this means.
Understanding the Metaphor:
To explain the metaphor, the cloud is the internet – no big secret and computing is…computing.
So, essentially, cloud computing is a platform for accessing and utilizing your businesses IT via the internet. This means nearly all of your IT resources – your servers, data storage, software/ programs – are hosted on the internet. It used to be that all of your computing would have to be done by your own servers, hardwired to your business. Now that the internet is around, your servers don’t have to be hardwired, and you don’t even need to have your own. Instead, you can rent server space from anywhere in the country from people like Amazon, who have already paid the overhead. Utilizing this system with SaaS, which does the same thing with software, one could theoretically run an entire business from various cyber cafés (if those still exist) without purchasing any of their own personal hardware or software at all.
Why this is great for small businesses:
Cloud computing does a few things for a small business. In general, it offers a more versatile model both technically and economically. With cloud computing, you don’t have your own servers/hardware. On the economic end of things, operating in the cloud lets you pay as you go, and you only pay for what you use. So on one hand you have lower startup costs because you don’t have to purchase expensive equipment when you are getting started. On the other hand, cloud computing allows for great scalability, since you don’t have to keep buying servers every time you add an employee or a new software system. It’s the scalability of cloud computing that makes it especially effective with quickly growing small businesses.
In addition, cloud computing removes the need for an IT expert on payroll. Unless your company is actually developing software, you don’t need the techies that would normally be running around putting out sever fires.
Now, most small businesses are probably not going out and directly purchasing cloud computing units from Amazon. But where a small business can take advantage of cloud computing is in purchasing basic software like CRM, help desk, document management, email and more. Instead of purchasing hardware, buying software on a disk and hiring an IT professional to setup the hardware install that software a small business can purchase software over the internet – typically with no installation required - from a Software-as-a-Service provider. Usually this means that you’ve got a monthly contract instead of a big up front purchase. And, as we’ve already mentioned, you don’t need to buy a server to host the software!
We operate by the same principles:
OfficeDrop works similarly to cloud computing but with scanning and document management software.
On the scanning side, buying high quality scanners and formatting scans to a computer is a very expensive process, but you don’t have to pay all that – we already have. Instead, you pay one low monthly fee to use the system we’ve already implemented.
Once we scan your paper documents, we put them in the cloud too, as digital documents so you can search and access them from any internet connection. Again, you don’t need to own your own server and remote backup if you use our online document management system. Plus, you won’t have to set up things like VPNs if you want to access your documents remotely – you can just use the browser on your laptop or iPhone.
Cloud Content Management
Learn about Cloud Content Management and how it can help your small business embrace the power of cloud computing and enterprise asset management – at a fraction of the cost.
We’re happy to be a part of the cloud computing trend here at OfficeDrop, and hope you take advantage of the benefits it can offer your small business.