7 Ways to Use the Cloud in Your Business

Cloud computing provides internet-based support available anytime, anywhere, and with any device: computer, tablet, smartphone, or something else entirely. 

The versatility and accessibility of the cloud makes it a crucial aspect of modern business. As COVID-19 forces companies to adopt new ways of remote work, the cloud is there to facilitate this transition.

The cloud has helped thousands of businesses operate remotely: Sales staff, outside technicians and even office staff can now work from home without a hitch. If you’ve used it to help keep your business alive, it’s time to learn how you can use it to make it grow. Here are a few places to start.

1. Remote Call Centers

No office setup seems more distant now than the call center: workers shoulder-to-shoulder, dealing with customer inquiries the same way workers did 50 years ago. Contact Center as a Service, or CCaaS, has quickly earned its place as the new “must have” of customer engagement technology. 

CCaaS platforms use artificial intelligence to ensure that telephone customers are routed to customer service representatives with as little delay as possible. Misdirected calls are reduced, managers can oversee call center workers without being on-site, and the entire process becomes more efficient. Because the heart of CCaaS platforms is cloud-based, updates come frequently and require minimal input on your part.

2. Storage Solutions

Cloud storage is one of the technology’s most valuable uses. The most common storage solutions are built as a public cloud, an off-site service where multiple users share infrastructure space. Dropbox and Google Drive are examples of a public cloud. Server hosts provide encryption to protect your private information.

Alternatively, companies can opt for a fully private cloud, where they house and maintain the servers, other hardware, and software. Developing and operating private clouds are expensive endeavors, but the payoff of complete data security is worth the price of admission for plenty of businesses. 

Some options are hybrid models, a blend of public and private storage solutions. This option uses internal servers for information with critical security needs, like client data and proprietary information. A third-party vendor provides storage for less essential information needs. 

Though cloud security can cost a pretty penny, companies that use cloud-based services often save on server maintenance expenses, including payroll costs associated with internal IT staff. 

3. Data Backup

What happens to your information if a natural disaster strikes or if the server you store data on burns out? Catastrophic losses like this occur every year, yet few businesses are prepared to deal with them.

Using cloud services to backup data means that information can be restored if an emergency destroys your work center. Many companies that offer data backup also maintain the information on multiple servers. This redundancy means that service providers have a secondary backup in case one facility fails, keeping the odds of data loss as low as possible.  

4. Disaster Recovery

Companies may be struggling with the data backup aspect of disaster mitigation, but they’re not doing well with the other elements either: One survey found that 73% of worldwide companies failed a disaster readiness review. 

Moving your CRM, CCaaS, and financial platforms to the cloud can ensure that your company can stay up and running should a disaster strike. Customer service can continue. Companies can maintain email, marketing plans, collaboration and productivity tools in the cloud as well. A cloud-based technology ecosystem prevents externalities from causing irreparable harm to your operations. 

5. Collaboration

Because cloud-based software is universally accessible, this makes it possible for a company to have global operations without investing in brick-and-mortar infrastructure across continents. Anything you could once do in the office can now be done from thousands of miles away, opening up new possibilities for collaboration.

Instant messaging and project management software based in the cloud both enhance communication, information sharing, and teamwork. These tools also open new opportunities for a broader, more diverse workforce. Cloud operations empower companies to find more qualified employees and shake up their way of doing things as well.

6. Scalability

Startups grow and develop increased infrastructure needs, but no early-stages startup can afford to buy the servers and hardware they think they may need later on. Companies need digital power that they can scale up or down as they need without incurring prohibitive costs.

Cloud computing is the “new utility” for businesses. Pay-as-you-go models make it possible for companies to buy as much cloud processing power as required. Industries with heavy data and large media files can buy more space than those with more basic requirements. When their needs change, they can work with other providers to buy more bandwidth. On the flip side, companies that are downsizing can return server space and reduce costs. 

7. Testing New Applications

Testing is a necessary part of any company’s operations, and the risks of doing so need to be kept to an absolute minimum. Using cloud software, IT staff can beta-test software in a limited way to work out the bugs without risking essential processes. 

This safe testing area is critical not only for technology developers but also for companies changing software or upgrading to new systems. Businesses can review information security processes before the new system is launched companywide. 

If cloud computing hasn’t transformed your company yet, 2021 can be the year it finally does. By moving your business online, you’re preparing it for the future and optimizing its present as well.