For small businesses, cloud services are the preferred method of storing digital data. While they used to rely on in-house servers to store their growing collections of online files, many small businesses are now transferring those services to online data storage services, such as JustCloud or Dropbox. Small businesses experience a number of benefits from storing their data in the cloud, including cost savings and the ability to access data from anywhere with an internet connection.
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Here are eight of the biggest benefits small businesses say they get from using online data storage.
1. Employees can work from anywhere
Online storage data allows employees to work from anywhere there is an internet connection, which is a huge benefit to Matthew Vollmar, CEO of managed IT services provider Newmind Group. He said his staff is no longer limited by location.
"It provides our 19 team members the freedom to work from anywhere (home, coffee shops, client facilities) and still have access to any needed documents or information," said Vollmar.
2. No server maintenance
Jeff Kear, owner and founder of online event management software provider Planning Pod, said one of the greatest benefits he gets from using online storage services is that he doesn't need to hire IT staff or retain consultants to maintain a server for all his digital data.
"Servers are expensive to run and often more expensive to maintain, and by using a service like Dropbox, I don't need to spend additional money on server support personnel," Kear said. "This probably saves my business $5,000 to $10,000 every year."
3. Data is easily moved
As CEO of ecommerce consultant PDB Sales Inc., a business that has moved offices five times in the last seven years, Tao Wong said online storage makes the process go much smoother. "Concerns about data loss are minimized," he said. "With the online data storage solutions, setup for the [new] offices has been a matter of plug-and-play."
4. Remote workers
Robyn Tippins, co-founder of marketing agency Mariposa, said that with offices in three states and consultants across the globe, online data storage allows the company to share files efficiently. She said they previously used email files, but that didn't work as well as they added new staff members.
"We use an inexpensive cloud storage provider to ensure everyone has the most up-to-date version of working docs, like client proposals, training documents, SOWs and contracts," Tippins said. "It helps us manage our workflow, onboard new consultants and new clients, and makes it possible to be a small team, despite the large geographic area we span."
5. Saves money
Cost is a big reason why Mickey Luongo, vice president of heating and air conditioning products provider Total Home Supply, uses online data storage services over in-house options. "Managing servers in-house is expensive," Luongo said. "By outsourcing our data storage, we saved on a lot of hardware and maintenance costs."
6. No data loss
Data backup is one of the most valuable aspects of online data storage for Matt Ham, president of Computer Repair Doctor. "We also pair online backups with once-per-month local backups. Just in case we get ransomware and all our files become encrypted, we don't want them auto-uploading to the cloud and then be left with no backups," Ham said.
Shaikh Hafizur Rahman, founder of Juicer Moz, said adopting online cloud storage into his business has given him ease of mind about the security of his files.
"Every year, the threat of cyberattacks is becoming rampant. By using cloud data storage, I have become largely immune to these cyberattacks," Rahman said. "Cloud storage facilities like Dropbox and JustCloud have tough security measures that can withstand large cyberattacks."
8. Client feedback
Jonathan Marsh, owner of home care agency Home Helpers of Bradenton, said he can easily share data with employees and clients.
"We have also used the cloud or online storage creatively as an easy way to share information or documents with our employees and our clients. From a document- and information-sharing standpoint, we oftentimes use the cloud as an alternative to attaching documents to email to limit the size of outbound emails," Marsh said. "We also employ a strategy that allows for employees and clients to access common documents via a shared online directory. More specifically, this allows for self-service, where clients and employees know where to find the common documents online, thus saving time by not having to call the office."
Additional reporting by Chad Brooks.