There’s no doubt that cloud computing has taken the world by storm. In just a few short years, the cloud has gone from being a new, innovative technology to an integral part of many business operations.
In fact, cloud computing is now so commonplace that it’s hard to imagine a time when it didn’t exist. But despite its ubiquity, many people still don’t fully understand what the cloud is or how it can be used.
This lack of understanding often leads to the belief that the cloud is only suitable for large enterprises or is only used for storing data.
However, this couldn’t be further from the truth. From better AWS support options to increased security, here are 10 of the most beneficial and handy uses of cloud computing:
1. You can use Cloud-based office suites
One of the most popular uses of cloud computing is cloud-based office suites such as Google Docs, Sheets and Slides, or Microsoft Office 365.
These suites allow users to create and edit documents, spreadsheets, and presentations online without installing software on their computers.
Unlike traditional office suites, which can be expensive to purchase and install, cloud-based ones are typically much cheaper (or even free) and can be accessed from anywhere with an internet connection.
This makes them ideal for small businesses or startups with no budget for traditional office software.
Why this is beneficial:
- Cheaper than traditional office software
- It can be accessed from anywhere
- No need to install any software
2. Cloud backup and storage
Another common use of the cloud is for storing and backing up data. Rather than keeping all your important files on your computer’s hard drive (which could be damaged or stolen), you can upload them to a secure cloud storage service like Google Drive, Dropbox, or iCloud.
This way, even if something happens to your computer, your files will be safe, and you’ll be able to access them from another device. Cloud storage is also useful for sharing files with others, as you can simply send them a link to the file rather than attaching it to an email.
Why this is beneficial:
- Files are stored off-site and are thus more secure
- You can access your files from anywhere
- It’s easy to share files with others
3. Collaboration and project management
Speaking of collaboration, the cloud is also a great tool for working on projects with other people. With cloud-based project management tools like Asana or Trello, you can easily keep track of tasks, assign them to specific team members, and set deadlines.
These tools make it easy to see who is working on what and when things are due, which can help keep projects on track and avoid confusion. They also make it easy for team members to communicate with each other, whether it’s through comments on tasks or direct messages.
Unlike email, which can be slow and cumbersome, these tools are designed specifically for collaboration and are much easier to use.
Why this is beneficial:
- Keeps projects organized and on track
- Allows easy communication between team members
- Employees can work from anywhere
4. Website hosting
If you have a website, you probably already use cloud computing without realizing it. That’s because most websites are hosted on servers in data centers, which are essentially large warehouses full of computers that store and distribute website data.
When you type in a website’s address, your computer sends a request to the server where the website is hosted. The server then sends the website data back to your computer, which allows you to view the website.
While it’s possible to host a website on your computer, it’s not practical or advisable, as it would require a lot of expensive hardware and be very slow. Plus, if your computer happens to go offline for any reason, your website would also go down.
What are the advantages of website hosting in the cloud?
- It’s much cheaper than traditional website hosting
- It’s more reliable (less downtime)
- It’s faster
Check out web hosting basics to learn more.
5. Cloud-based accounting software
If you run a small business that has to do any financial reporting, you know how important it is to have good accounting software. While there are some desktop-based accounting programs available, many businesses are now using cloud-based solutions like FreshBooks or QuickBooks Online.
Why are cloud-based accounting software better?
- Compared to desktop-based software, cloud-based accounting software is usually:
- Cheaper (no need to buy a license for each user)
- Easier to use (no installation required)
- More collaborative (multiple users can access the same account)
6. You get support from cloud service providers.
If you opt for a cloud-based solution, you’ll also get support from the cloud service provider you’re using. This is generally much better than getting support from the software vendor, as they will be more familiar with the cloud-based version of the software.
For example, if you’re using QuickBooks Online, you can get support directly from Intuit (the company that makes QuickBooks) rather than from a third-party support company.
This means that you’ll usually get help faster and from people who are more knowledgeable about the software. Additional support options like CloudOps Active Management Solution (CAMS) are also available.
This support service helps you manage your cloud-based applications and infrastructure. Check out all the ways CAMS can help at aws management.
7. Backups and disaster recovery
One of the most important uses of cloud computing is for backups and disaster recovery. Unlike traditional backups, typically stored onsite (and can be lost or damaged in a disaster), cloud-based backups are stored offsite, which means they’re much safer because they’re not subject to the same risks.
In the event of a fire, flood, or other disasters, you can rest assured knowing that your data is safe and can be quickly restored.
What are some benefits of cloud-based backups?
- They’re more reliable (less likely to be lost or damaged)
- They’re cheaper (no need to buy and maintain expensive hardware)
- They’re easier to use (automatic backups)
Which cloud service should you use for backups?
Several cloud-based backup services are available, but our top pick is Amazon Glacier. It’s one of the most affordable options, and it’s very easy to use.
7. Increased security
Despite what some people think, cloud-based solutions are actually more secure than their desktop-based counterparts. That’s because cloud service providers invest a lot of money in security measures, such as firewalls and intrusion detection systems.
Plus, with a cloud-based solution, your data is stored offsite, which means it’s not subject to the same risks as data that are stored on your premises. Think about it — if there’s a fire at your office, your on-site backups could be lost or damaged. But if you’re using a cloud-based backup service, your data will be safe and sound.
What security measures should you look for in a cloud service provider?
When choosing a cloud service provider, be sure to look for one that offers the following security measures:
- Intrusion detection and prevention systems
- Data encryptionPhysical security (e.g., guards, cameras, alarms)
8. Better scalability for growing businesses
If you’re a growing business or startup, cloud-based solutions are a great option because they’re very scalable. This means that you can easily add or remove users as your business grows (or shrinks).
For example, if you’re using QuickBooks Online, you can easily add or remove users as your needs change. On the other hand, adding or removing users with a desktop-based solution can be a real hassle because you have to install or uninstall the software on each computer.
This doesn’t just take time, but it can also be expensive if you purchase additional licenses for each new user.
9. Automated software updates
Last but certainly not least, cloud-based solutions offer the benefit of automatic software updates. This means that you’ll always be using the latest software version, with all the new features and security updates.
Unlike a desktop-based solution, which requires you to manually update the software, a cloud-based solution will automatically update itself. This not only saves you time but also ensures that you’re always using the most up-to-date version of the software.
Moving to the cloud can be a big decision for any business, but it can offer many benefits. From increased productivity to lower costs, there are many reasons to make the switch.
So, if you’re thinking about moving to the cloud, consider some of the uses and benefits discussed in this article. Chances are, you’ll find that the cloud is a great fit for your business.