How your SME can harness the power of the cloud – 3 important tools
In 2022 your small business must be digitally optimised, so if you aren’t already utilising the Cloud then why haven’t you caught up?
Getting used to new tech can be daunting at first, but the advantages the Cloud can have for your businesses are endless, and so many cloud-based tools are free. All you need is a good internet connection – but we’ve got you sorted there.
What is the Cloud?
In the digital space when we talk about the Cloud, we don’t mean the ones in the sky!
The tech industry tends to make the Cloud sound like some ominous out-of-reach being that is far beyond anyone’s understanding – certainly not something to be used by a small business such as yours.
Realistically the Cloud is much less daunting than it seems. It is essentially a term for services and software run on the internet rather than being run on your computer, however most cloud services can be accessed through your computer aswell.
It’s likely you’re already using some Cloud services without knowing it. Tools such as Dropbox and Google Drive are well-known cloud services that many people and businesses use.
Well, what can the Cloud do for my business?
Whether you’re an e-commerce business or you have a physical shop – there’s something the cloud can do for all of us. It could be organisation, back-ups or implementing a hybrid working model – the Cloud can help you do it all.
From accessing programmes to storing data, the uses of the Cloud are endless and can be very overwhelming.
We have decided to handpick our top 3 Cloud tools that will help your small business get started. Couple these tools with a GigaFast connection and you’ll have everything you need to digitally optimise your small business.
Cloud storage – Google Drive
Cloud storage is where data and applications are stored on separate servers and accessed via the internet.
This means you no longer have to worry about your computer or phone having enough storage, or a certain document only being on one device, the Cloud has that handled for you!
Having a Cloud storage solution also means you don’t ever have to worry about losing data or information, everything is stored away in the cloud where you can access it 24/7.
You also won’t have to worry about massive filing cabinets or extra office space just for information, digital storage is the future.
Our favourite cloud storage tool is Google Drive. It is free to use and allows you to store files across all your devices in a simple and easy-to-use interface. These files can also be shared with team members or kept private if needed. A much easier alternative to passing papers around in meetings.
SaaS – Google Workspace
SaaS means software-as-a-service and is the future of working in the post-covid world.
SaaS platforms will enable your business to function from your business site, from home or from anywhere in the world (as long as you have a device and a stable internet connection).
Our favourite SaaS tool is the Google Workspace, you’re probably already aware of a few aspects of this suite of tools. It includes popular apps such as Gmail and Google Calendar. Google drive is also a part of Google Workspace – it’s amazing how much everything in the Cloud links together!
Google Workspace also includes other applications such as google docs, google sheets, google slides, google forms, google meets and more.
All of your work within these applications can sync up in your google drive and you can collaborate with other members of your team at any time. It is essentially a virtual workspace, making home and hybrid working so much easier – and best of all, it’s free!
Now, this tool may not be 100% relevant to every small business but if your website is giving you trouble, or if you find yourself with larger spikes of visitors, cloud website hosting might be the solution for you.
This also might be a solution to think about for the future. As your small business grows, you’re going to need to eventually have a website with a larger capacity.
With shared website hosting, (what most people use) your server may be slow as it is shared with others.
With dedicated hosting, you get an entire server to yourself, but as you can imagine, the costs aren’t very small business-friendly.
With cloud hosting, your website is hosted in the cloud – with virtual server space. This means bandwidth is spread across multiple servers essentially ruling out many issues that you may find with other web hosting alternatives. This solution is especially great if you use e-commerce.
Our favourite cloud hosting tool is Hostinger. At just £7.99 a month on a 48-month plan, their prices are extremely small business-friendly and they offer unlimited bandwidth, fast server speeds and an excess of other features.