6 Things Business Owners Need to Know About Cloud Services

If your small business isn’t taking advantage of all the perks of using the cloud, you’re probably missing opportunities that can grow your business. Maybe you just don’t know enough about cloud services or are scared that your data will be hacked. Either way, InnoTek Computer Consulting is here to provide the information you deserve to know, so you can feel comfortable transitioning to the cloud.

Hundreds of small businesses in Northeastern PA have trusted InnoTek with their IT needs. Whether it’s for managed IT services, business continuity planning, VoIP services, or the cloud desktop for business, we are a great partner who is always quick to respond and knowledgeable. Continue reading to learn more about the cloud, its benefits, and how it can help your business. Then, give us a call to discuss setting up cloud computing for your small business.

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1. The Cloud Can Improve Productivity and Mitigate Security Risks

Businesses can use the cloud for a variety of different needs. One of its most popular uses is data storage. Instead of saving your files on your device, you save them to the cloud, accessible through the internet. The data is saved to remote computers—called storage servers—at a third-party data center.

You can also use the cloud for software and as a platform to develop applications. Using the cloud provides many benefits for your business, including:

  • It creates the ability to work remotely because you can access your files and programs anywhere with an internet connection. Snowstorms, pandemics, and other situations that may temporarily close your business location don’t matter since your employees can work from home.
  • If you lose internet connection, you can safely work offline, and the files will sync as soon as you are connected again.
  • There are multiple layers of security to protect your data from cybercriminals.
  • Systems are always up-to-date with the latest security upgrades and patches.
  • You no longer need to manage or secure data servers at your own location when using serverless computing.
  • Your data has redundant backups, eliminating the risk of losing important files.
  • Cloud services are easily scalable as your business needs change.
  • Easily collaborate with others on projects.

Cloud computing eliminates the need to manage your own servers, data storage, and software and puts the onus on the service provider. InnoTek can help set you up with the cloud quickly, so you and your employees can enjoy greater work/life balance and job satisfaction by working from home.

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2. There are Different Types of Cloud Setups

If the benefits of using the cloud sound appealing to you, the next thing you should know is that there are three primary types of clouds: public cloud, private cloud, and hybrid cloud. Each is configured differently, with varying responsibilities placed on the business owner.

Public Cloud Storage

Public cloud storage is where a third-party company hosts your data on their servers at their location. Some examples of public cloud storage include Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services, and Google Photos.

Don’t get hung up on the word “public,” though. It doesn’t mean your data is accessible to anyone with an internet connection. These service providers can probably protect your data better than your business can.

Private Cloud Storage

Private cloud storage is like public cloud storage, except the data server is located at your premises rather than third-party locations. The private cloud gives you better control over data security, but the cost and responsibility of maintaining it are on the business owner.

If your business handles delicate information or is bound by HIPPA or other compliance laws, then private cloud storage may be best for you.

Hybrid Cloud Storage

Hybrid cloud storage is a combination of the public and private cloud. In this case, companies choose to store their highly sensitive data on their private cloud housed at their location while using the public cloud to collaborate with others and share less-confidential documents.

This option is the best of both worlds in terms of security and flexibility, but it may work better for some businesses than others.

3. Use Various Cloud Service Models to Meet the Demands of Your Business

So now that you know your options for setting up the cloud, the next thing you need to understand is that there are different service models from which to choose. The most common types are infrastructure as a service (IaaS), software as a service (SaaS), and platform as a service (PaaS). Each model provides different services for your business, so it’s wise to choose which one or which combination will benefit your business the most.

It’s also important to note that some providers can provide more than one type of cloud service. For example, Microsoft 365 provides data storage (IaaS) and access to the full suite of Microsoft Office products (SaaS).

Software as a Service

An illustration showing SaaS, IaaS, and PaaS in different colored clouds.

SaaS allows you to use applications over the internet without downloading or installing programs on your device. Years ago, consumers and businesses would have to purchase CDs to install on their computers and use specific programs, like QuickBooks or Microsoft Office.

Now, you have the option to use these programs and others—like Dropbox, Salesforce, and even Netflix—directly through your internet browser. This ability means you no longer have to worry about installing, maintaining, or updating applications.

Platform as a Service

Developers love PaaS because it provides the framework to create customized software and applications for their company. Since it’s deliverable over the web, it dramatically improves collaboration efforts between team members—no matter where they are.

Infrastructure as a Service

IaaS provides companies with high-performance computing (HPC) capabilities, servers, networks, operating systems, and storage. You typically access these hardware and software resources through a dashboard or application programming interface (API). Management of these functions is the requirement of the cloud service provider. An example of an IaaS is your email hosting company.

Which Cloud Service Model is Best for Small Businesses?

Most small businesses will utilize software as a service since you can access dozens of applications through the internet, allowing you and your employees to work from anywhere with an internet connection.

4. Using the Cloud Does Pose a Few Disadvantages

If your mind is swimming with ways the cloud can help scale your business, we don’t want to burst your bubble. The fact remains that cloud services from a reliable provider like InnoTek can make your team more productive and give you greater security over your data. However, like most things, there are some drawbacks to this service.

For one, you need to have an internet connection to use the cloud. If your internet goes out, or you are in a remote location without internet access, you won’t be able to retrieve your files. However, if you are working on a file and the internet goes out, you can continue safely working. When you get a connection again, the file will sync automatically.

Another inconvenience is that you lose some control. For example, if your cloud service provider has downtime to perform updates or experiences glitches in their system, you may not be able to access your data. While these issues may not be deal-breakers for you, it’s important to be aware of them.

5. InnoTek Provides Cloud Services for a Flat Monthly Fee

An illustration of a highway sign that states “Next Exit: Cloud Service.”

With InnoTek, we will provide comprehensive management and remote monitoring of your servers, files, and software. Cloud services from InnoTek are available for a flat monthly fee, so you can easily predict your IT budget. Other cloud service providers charge varying fees with additional costs for upgraded security.

Why trust your business with a large cloud company where you’re just another monthly subscription? Instead, trust the competent and professional cloud service provider that hundreds of small businesses in Northeastern PA trust—InnoTek Computer Consulting.

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6. Cloud Computing Services Can Adjust as Your Business Needs Change

One of the best parts of choosing InnoTek for cloud services is that we offer a pay-as-you-go approach to data storage. So, if your business suddenly needs to store more data on our servers, we can quickly provide that access for you. Or, conversely, if you sell part of your business to concentrate on a different aspect, we can scale down your cloud services to match your needs.

Ready to Get Started with Cloud Services?

If you’re ready to get started with cloud services for your Northeastern, PA business, then it’s time to talk to InnoTek. Our company has been a helpful and knowledgeable partner that consistently meets our IT customers’ needs for over two decades. We can help get your business set up with cloud capabilities so that you can realize all of the benefits this technological advancement can have for your business. Call us today to get started!

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