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How Start-ups Can Leverage Cloud Computing For Their Business Growth

By Richard Conn, Senior Director, Demand Generation, 8x8

Being a start-up business can be daunting. But in today's age, cloud computing has made it easier, more accessible, and more affordable for new businesses who are finding their feet.

Teams are no longer relying on local talent and paying expensive office rent. Instead, all they need is a computer, an internet connection, and software subscriptions. There's no longer the need to live in the same city, or even the same country!

Let's take a look at how start-ups can leverage cloud computing to grow their business.

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What Exactly Is Cloud Computing?

In a nutshell, cloud computing is a digital service that allows you to use important software or access data from anywhere. All you need is a capable device and an internet connection. Load up your browser or app, log in, and away you go. 

In today's digital climate, businesses need instant access to cloud services. Whether it's from a mobile app, a tablet, or a laptop, from home or abroad, you're no longer bound to the office.

To be more specific, however, we need to acknowledge it's a bit of an umbrella term. There are a lot of different services that fall under the term ‘cloud computing', including:

  • Cloud Storage: files can be stored and accessed on multiple devices and shared between users.
  • Cloud Backup: files and work can be saved and backed-up to the cloud as a failsafe in the event of a server crash, cyber attack, or any other data loss.
  • Software as a Service (SaaS): a licensing model that enables businesses to access online versions of software, usually for a monthly subscription. It's hosted in the cloud, rather than on physical equipment.
  • Cloud Hosting: enables multiple kinds of information sharing, such as emails, application hosting, web-based communication systems, a hosted phone number, and data storage.

What Types of Cloud Computing Do Businesses Use?

Cloud computing offers services that range from fully functional software to data storage. These can include accounting software, remote desktop hosting, customer service tools, and anything in between. If you've ever wondered what is sales automation, or where do I store these photos now my phone is out of memory? There's probably a cloud-based solution.

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That said, with so many 'as a Service' options out there, it can get confusing. You might find yourself searching for a BPaaS definition or deciding if SaaS, PaaS, or IaaS is what you need. So let's take a look at the three main categories ‘as a Service' includes.

Infrastructure as a Service

IaaS replaces physical in-house servers by offering infrastructure in the cloud on virtual servers or machines.  Businesses can use IaaS with a range of configurations to handle different needs. For start-ups, IaaS significantly reduces the cost of having to run servers constantly, even out of hours.

Platform as a Service

PaaS is a cloud computing model that gives customers a complete cloud-based platform. This lets them develop, run, and manage apps without needing to run physical on-site servers. Customers simply pay a monthly subscription fee based on the resources they require.

Software as a Service

SaaS enables end-users to access software over the internet via the cloud. Common uses for SaaS include team collaboration, cloud-based accounting, or graphic design tools.

How Start-ups Can Leverage Cloud Computing For Their Business Growth

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By 2025, there'll be about 200 zettabytes of data stored in the cloud. That's half the world's data! This is unsurprising, however, given the range of benefits afforded by cloud computing. Let's look now at how start-ups can leverage cloud computing for their business' growth marketing.

Improved Agility and Speed of Execution

Cloud computing makes resources instantly available from anywhere. Hence, the agility and speed of execution possible by your business are dramatically increased.

On top of this, cloud software itself is always improving and making tasks quicker. For example, optical character recognition software can automatically scan digital documents like receipts and order histories by keyword, saving you hours.

Flexibility and Scalability

No longer do you have to worry about your infrastructure's capacity when you have a service which passes the mobile usability test. Cloud computing brings you flexibility and scalability without worrying over compute power and storage.

Using web-enabled devices on the move to access files and perform business tasks is a game-changer. You're no longer restricted to the hours you can physically access a PC with all the required software, meaning you can grow your business from anywhere.

Additionally, the bigger your business gets, the more storage and bandwidth you will require to cope with increased traffic. Cloud servers can automatically aid businesses in scaling up (or down) to ensure optimum performance.

Keep Costs Down As Your Business Grows

One of the greatest benefits of cloud computing is that it needs minimum investment to get started.  Many start-up businesses are reluctant to purchase expensive software from the get-go.

The cloud solves this by offering affordable monthly subscriptions and free trials. There's usually  the option to cancel early on if things need reevaluating. So whether it's a bank automation system for payrolls, VoIP services, or a stock update from your ecommerce store, you can get going immediately.

Provide Top-Level Data Security And Protection

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The cloud offers top-level data security and protection. In fact, it's predicted that through 2025, 99% of security failures will be down to user error rather than issues with the technology. 

Why is this? Well, by keeping data on reliable servers, having regular backups, and supplying encryption, the cloud offers an all-round infrastructure that's secure and free of computer bugs. You're no longer relying on your own infrastructure and staff - instead, it's outsourced to experts.

Improved Collaboration

Using the cloud allows greater collaboration within a remote workforce and reduces the importance of physical location. In the past, the cost of international communication priced many start-ups out of the game.

But thanks to the cloud, businesses can collaborate far and wide, and staff members within businesses can collaborate too. The ability to log on and share data between users opens up new relationships and opportunities.

Automatic Software Updates

Most cloud service providers offer updates regularly to ensure IT requirements and security are always at their best. This also ensures you get the latest software version user experience.

Maybe there's a new feature on the cloud-based blogging platform you use to find affiliate marketers. The app will automatically update, ready for when you next log in to the cloud. You can also be notified by email that the new feature exists.

The cloud also negates needing round-the-clock maintenance in-house. Given that, according to Accounts and Legal, IT downtime is costing businesses an average £3.6 million a year, this is a worthwhile investment. Security updates and software updates are no longer your responsibility. Costs and resources go down, efficiency goes up!

Environmentally Friendly

Businesses with Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) policies will be keen to lower their environmental footprint, and cloud-based services are a great solution.

For instance, if you automate shipping for your ecommerce and outsource it to a specialist service, your staff no longer need to travel to the office. Instead, a core team that manages multiple businesses' shipping handles it - reducing the amount of energy consumed.

With remote communication meaning you don't need to commute, and cloud operations meaning you don't need to run in-office servers, it's great for your business costs and the planet. Moving to the cloud could reduce CO2 emissions by 60 million tonnes per year.

Automatic Software Integration

Another benefit of the cloud is software integration. This saves time and resources by no longer needing to hire a team and run servers to integrate applications.

By taking advantage of automatic software integration offered in the cloud, you can quickly select and customise the services you want. For example, perhaps you're running a new .io domain and want to add in a traffic checker to gain insights, integrating these services together allows you to carry out your objectives with ease.

Final Thoughts

Whether you're looking to reduce costs, increase efficiency, or simply embrace flexibility, cloud computing can help you realise your dreams. With the future progressing further into the cloud-based infrastructure, and crossing paths with AI and machine learning, it's here to stay. So get ahead of the game and see how it can help you.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Richard Conn - Senior Director, Demand Generation, 8x8

Richard Conn is the Senior Director for Demand Generation at 8x8, a leading communication platform with integrated contact center, small business telephone systems, voice, video, and chat functionality. Richard is an analytical & results-driven digital marketing leader with a track record of achieving major ROI improvements in fast-paced, competitive B2B environments. Check out his LinkedIn.

Published Wednesday, April 06, 2022 7:31 AM by David Marshall
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