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Grow Your Business Technology

What Small Business Owners Need to Know About AWS

image for fizkes / Getty Images
fizkes / Getty Images
  • AWS is a cloud-based software platform that provides an array of services to businesses of all sizes
  • AWS's cloud storage system and machine learning algorithms give business owners access to some of the most cutting edge technology available.
  • With flexible, pay-as-you-go pricing options, AWS is a great product for small businesses looking to scale their online customer base. 

Amazon Web Services (AWS) isn't just for the megacorporations. It may seem that way, with companies like Netflix, Comcast, PG&E and other large entities hosting their data with Amazon; yet much of what AWS offers can also be used by small businesses seeking a way to offload the complexities of managing software or their own infrastructure. The very advantages that such cloud offerings provide to large corporations can also be used by smaller shops: low-cost computing resources, the ability to scale quickly and a platform-agnostic approach.

Amazon Web Services is a cloud platform that offers an array of digital services to online businesses of all sizes. The services offered are geared toward helping small businesses and corporate conglomerates alike build a strong digital infrastructure. Examples of these products and services include cloud storage, machine learning algorithms, data analytics and much more.  

For a modern business, rapid growth and scalability are the keys to success. One of the biggest obstacles new companies face is how to grow their customer base without overloading their servers. Everyone wants a million subscribers. But not every new company has the computing power to handle that much traffic, and it doesn’t make economic sense to buy the extra bandwidth before you have the customer base to support it. 

AWS was created to solve this paradox for small businesses and startups. With data centers across the world, clients have access to the largest cloud computing network in existence. 

Plus, the platform allows you to optimize pricing according to your own needs. If your business goes from zero to a million customers overnight, AWS allows you to expand seamlessly, without having to scramble to build new servers. 

It’s one of the tech world’s most intriguing products, having played a key role in the explosion of companies like Netflix and Airbnb. AWS is perfect for a small business looking to achieve spectacular growth in a short period of time. 

For those who, like myself, spent more time at university learning about the building blocks of civilization instead of software, it helps to think about AWS in terms of what you're able to build. Browse through a few videos, and you'll hear a consistent theme: You can use the building blocks of AWS for creating software or other solutions for a business.

Instead of having to purchase on-premises storage or manage the infrastructure, you rent out space on Amazon's servers. Because all the work is done online, you're able to tap into Amazon's capabilities across several different industries: financial services, digital marketing, media, enterprise, healthcare and various other industries.

While it's an overused term, scalability really matters here. Increasing the speed and efficiency of a project is a difficult undertaking if you're a small team. With a service like AWS, such efforts are more palatable thanks to the developer tools and ability to outsource all the infrastructure and computing power to Amazon's cloud.

The other major attraction of cloud providers is the work they are doing with artificial intelligence (AI). AWS, along with Microsoft Azure, is building artificial intelligence APIs that companies can use to glean greater insights about their products.

AWS offers machine learning APIs for your own development purposes. Amazon SageMaker is a more robust tool for developers and data scientists wanting to use machine learning with their software. Even if this type of development work is above your pay grade, being aware of the trends in cloud usage is critical as the world moves more toward AI and automation.

Businesses will increasingly use the internet of things to glean more insights about customer behavior. Such computing possibilities will further push more industries to embrace how software and analytics will make a tangible difference in their business efforts.

If your business is new to the cloud, AWS can seem like a confusing place to start, as Amazon has been unveiling products at a dizzying pace. Start with this walk-through if you're interested in getting a basic overview of the type of services offered. Amazon is also dabbling in the productivity space with Amazon WorkDocs and Amazon Chime, a Skype competitor.

Just like how many people find it impossible to live without Prime, Amazon wants to be just as essential of a resource for the business world. The software empire that it's building certainly makes it hard to ignore.

One of the major benefits of AWS for small businesses is that they offer pay-as-you-go pricing plans. With over 160 digital services offered, clients can choose whatever services meet their demands and pay for what they use.  

Depending on the size of your business this could range from tens to tens of thousands of dollars per month. It’s up to you how to allocate your budget, but AWS is specifically designed for small businesses looking for flexible pricing options.  

One month you may want to spend more money on cloud storage, and the next you may need to spend more on gathering analytics. This gives customers the ability to hone in on the parts of the business that need the most work without overcommitting to one particular service. 

Hosting a static website will cost anywhere from $1 to $3 per month depending on the complexity of the site. They even offer a free tier to those who are just getting started and want a low-commitment way to explore what the platform has to offer.  

AWS is great for small businesses with large ambitions. With flexible payment options and customizable features, AWS is perfect for small businesses looking to scale quickly and reduce overhead. 

Although it’s better known for servicing large conglomerates, its elastic pricing options are almost better suited for businesses who are less certain of how their client base will grow month to month. 

Starting a business is hard enough without having to worry about how your growth will create more problems. AWS takes this worry away by giving customers access to a massive network of servers all across the globe.  

With additional features that take advantage of the latest advancements in AI and Blockchain technology, AWS also gives small businesses a leg up in areas that may otherwise be too expensive to develop. 

AWS is a platform that seeks to democratize technology. It gives small business owners and corporate executives alike access to some of the world’s most cutting edge technological advancements. So, if you own a business, it’s worthwhile to see how AWS could potentially fuel your online growth. 

Business News Daily Editor

Business News Daily was founded in 2010 as a resource for small business owners at all stages of their entrepreneurial journey. Our site is focused exclusively on giving small business advice, tutorials and insider insights. Business News Daily is owned by Business.com.