The development of cloud computing is a game changer for businesses big and small.
There are loads of potential uses for cloud services, the most common being file storage. Instead of files being saved on portable drives that could easily get lost, damaged, or stolen — they can be stored on the cloud.
But that’s not all. If you’re interested in what cloud services can do for your business, keep reading. We’ll cover:
- File storage
- Data backup
- Disaster recovery
- Device testing
An overview of cloud services
Cloud services are programs, apps or processes, owned by third-party businesses and accessible through the internet. All the data and processes are managed by the third-party business and delivered instantly to the users current device.
There are four categories of cloud services. These are:
- Infrastructure — provides user with computing, networking and storage
- Platforms — provides a platform capable of running applications
- Software — provides a cloud application, to enable easy testing across devices
- Function — for developers to build, run, and manage app packages without maintaining infrastructure
For most small business owners, the only category you need to worry about is infrastructure. If you’re starting an app development business, you may want to consider the other categories.
Cloud based services have some great advantages, because your usage isn’t limited to one device or location. This provides you with certain flexibilities that can make it much easier to run your business.
So what tools can you use, and how do you use cloud services?
How to use cloud services
There are a few different ways you can use the cloud for your business. We’re going to run through some of our favourites.
This is the method most people will be familiar with. Cloud storage offers a unique opportunity to create files on one device, and instantly access them from another anywhere in the world.
Cloud-based file storage is incredibly useful if your business needs to move around a lot. For example, a plumbing business could save boiler schematics to the cloud from their computer, and access the file on their phone at the client’s house.
How to store files on the cloud
So you’ve decided that storing files on the cloud is the right move for your business. How do you go about it, and what services should you use?
First, you need to choose a storage provider (we recommend checking out Google Drive for its functionality and low cost).
Then simply create an account, and either transfer old files over or create new ones.
Side note: Google has its own format for documents, and using this doesn’t take up any of your storage space.
Once your files are on the cloud, you can access and edit them from any compatible device.
Using cloud storage also makes your files safer. In the event of an accident, files could be destroyed. A fire, for instance, would destroy hard-copy files and digital files alike.
By backing up your files to the cloud, you can protect your business’s data no matter what happens.
Before cloud storage, you may have needed copies saved onto separate hard drives or USB drives. This made it quite easy to lose or damage the backups, if they weren’t stored correctly.
Thanks to cloud data backup, you don’t need to worry about that.
Computing isn’t the only way to use the cloud.
One of the most useful applications is using it to manage your business’s finances. This can range anywhere from simply checking your money, to using accounting software to manage your money more closely.
With this in place, it also becomes more time efficient to complete your yearly Self Assessment.
How to use cloud-based financial accounting
A relatively simple process, depending on your chosen method. If you want to use an app like Countingup, you just need to download the app and sign up.
Once you’ve been approved, you can start making use of its various features.
These days, you don’t even need programs installed on your computer to use them.
Some apps (like Microsoft Office) can be streamed directly from the cloud. You can even have virtual computers in place. This is perfect if you ever have to deal with a disaster.
With an adequate recovery plan in place, your business could be back up and running in days instead of months. If you want to learn more about cloud-based data recovery, check out this Amazon article.
If your business is involved in tech development, whether it’s apps, games, or something else entirely, you may need to test your program on different devices.
Downloading the correct files, and installing them on each device every time you want to make an adjustment can be incredibly time consuming. Instead, save time and use the cloud.
One option for device testing could be to have your software saved on the cloud, and download it to each device. If you’re testing on multiple devices simultaneously, this could be a great time-sensitive method.
On the other hand, you could use the cloud to run an emulator, creating a digital version of that device. This way, you can experiment with the capabilities of different devices in a cost-effective way.
Using cloud services to manage your finances
If you want to see how the cloud can help your finances, check out the Countingup app. Countingup is a two-in-one business current account and accounting software, designed to provide a clear overview of your finances.
Boasting features like automatic expense categorisation and custom invoicing, the app makes financial management a breeze. But don’t just take our word for it.