There are some things you just can’t replace. The family photo album, a child’s first painting, heirlooms… All of these things are one of a kind, truly special, and irreplaceable. But those aren’t the only things in this world that would be catastrophic to lose!
Take a moment to think about what would happen if your company’s QuickBooks or Sage data were lost. How would you feel? Who would it affect? How would it change your company?
It doesn’t take much imagination to realize that your local machines may not be as secure as they should be, given the sensitivity of the data they protect. Local storage on-premises has multiple risk factors, such as natural disasters or other external factors. However, there are ways to protect your data against such risk factors – like migrating your accounting software into the cloud.
Although the cloud may sound unfamiliar, it has actually become widely popular. In fact, cloud computing is the fastest growing IT sector in the world (since 2018, the number of businesses adopting cloud practices has increased significantly at over 80%) and some trend watchers predict that within a decade or so, businesses without a cloud computing strategy may as well have no Internet presence at all. It may seem that the solutions offered by cloud computing providers are the province of large enterprises with heavy data loads and a large, far-flung workforce — but that’s no longer the case.
Today, the tools and services provided by a long and growing list of providers are offering small businesses the resources they need to expand their reach in a global marketplace. With innovative cloud technology, unlimited scalability, and constant access to apps and data, the cloud allows small businesses in all sectors to save money and resources, support constant connectivity and collaboration, and keep data secure and accessible.
Cloud Computing Advantages
The cloud is beneficial for companies at each stage in their growth. However, it can be especially helpful for small to mid-sized companies. Small businesses and startups often face a number of challenges that may not affect larger companies in their industry. With limited funds and highly localized operations, these businesses may not be able to budget for an expanded IT staff, current software, and the hardware required to run it. Other expenditures can include time and resources spent on staff training and regular updates to both software and hardware.
When computing operations are localized, networking and collaboration become burdensome and time-consuming, and small companies are less able to access the resources of a global workforce of independent contractors to take care of intermittent or project-related staff needs, which can impact both productivity and competitiveness. And while a company website can provide a portal for interacting with both business partners and consumers, it may not have the tools for round-the-clock responsiveness and access to all the company’s resources, both in terms of data and personnel.
Taking some or all of a company’s computing needs to the cloud can solve those problems, save money and boost productivity — and help to save the environment at the same time. With numerous cloud service options and pricing plans to choose from, there is a cloud — or clouds — to meet the needs of just about every business.
Top Five Advantages of Cloud Hosting
Storing a company’s data in the cloud can protect it against accidental loss and malicious activity as well as from events such as fire, floods, and earthquakes. Cloud storage, especially dedicated server hosting, also allows users the protection of a cloud provider’s own systems for preventing cybercrime and other security threats. Although users still need to implement their own protections, such as managing passwords and permissions, migrating data to the cloud protects sensitive information from physical damage, human error, and cyberthreats with resources that are beyond the scope of measures that can be taken on local networks.
Additionally, when using a cloud hosting provider, overall data protection is handled by experienced engineers. They install interconnected security tools, can scale resources as needed, and may offer additional layers of security at login, such as Multi-Factor Authentication. Additionally, the cloud server hardware is typically physically held in ultra-secure off-premise data centers.
2. Scalability and Flexibility
Cloud service options range from basic public cloud packages to fully managed custom cloud solutions designed to meet specific needs, and these can be scaled to meet a company’s changing priorities and ongoing growth.
Options include the public cloud, a low-cost solution that allows many users to share the same servers provided by the remote host; private clouds dedicated to just one user; and hybrid- or multi-cloud options that can be a combination of cloud and local computing, or a group of cloud services dedicated to supporting different functions.
As a business grows, users can scale their cloud service plans to include more storage, more applications, and more services provided by the host. That might include opting for a private- or multi-cloud solution to meet evolving needs.
Most cloud services offer a menu of “pay as you go” services so that users can change plans or add new functions as needed, without the commitment and expense of buying these services outright. And since plans can be upgraded or downgraded as needed, users pay only for the services they need at any particular time.
3. Data Backups
When you store your Sage or QuickBooks data in the cloud, you can rest assured knowing backups are ready and waiting in the event of an emergency! Data backups are automated and usually take place daily. So, it won’t be the end of the if you forget to create a copy of your data at the end of a long working day. At Summit Hosting, we offer nightly data backups which are retained for 15 days.
Consider your current IT costs. Those local storage machines and hardware don’t maintain themselves, do they? If you’re looking to grow your business, you’ll have to expand your data storage and hardware as well, especially if you’re using a more advanced version of Sage. With this expansion comes the responsibility of your IT team to maintain and update your local machines. And with that responsibility comes money.
Managing a heavy network of storage/service hardware and other IT infrastructure can become expensive and taxing on smaller IT departments. Offloading the storage and performance capabilities of your business applications will not only reduce the amount of investment you make in IT hardware, but it will also greatly reduce the burden on your internal IT employees.
Depending on the cloud hosting provider, they’ll handle the backups, maintenance, and updating of all your company’s storage needs, on top of the risk aversion. So, it’s a matter of keeping your data safe, your software updated and your costs down, versus potentially at risk, out-of-date, and expensive.
5. Convenience and Collaboration
When data and applications are confined to local systems, access is typically limited to clearly defined times and circumstances. But the cloud erases time and location constraints, so that data and services are available at all times, from anywhere in the world.
Any user with permissions and a connected device can access company data stored in the cloud, making it possible to collaborate across time zones and borders, provide round-the-clock customer service and respond quickly to any situation. With uninterrupted hours of operation and constant access to relevant data/software, documents can be shared and edited in real-time, and projects can be completed from remote locations all over the world. With the cloud, your QuickBooks or Sage data can be in the palm of your hand or on your computer at a moment’s notice, no matter where you are.
Bonus Perks of Cloud Hosting
1. The Cloud Offers Redundant Servers
The key to data survival and an uninterrupted workflow is redundancy. Redundancy is the key to data survival and an uninterrupted workflow. Redundancy is… (Okay, we’re done.)
You’re looking to the cloud for the same level of reliability that your customers are looking to you for – so, it’s important to be able to deliver at the drop of a hat. Certain hosting providers, like Summit Hosting, have fully redundant dedicated servers. This means that if one server stops working for some reason, another server will automatically take over and start running so you can keep going.
2. The Cloud Enhances Software Capabilities
A common concern with online versions of applications is the loss of certain features and capabilities within the software. While it’s true that some software providers limit what goes into the online versions of their applications, this is not a reason to avoid moving your business apps into the Cloud. Cloud hosting through a third-party provider allows businesses to access all the features of applications like MS Office, QuickBooks, etc. without having to either dedicate space on their own server. It’s the best of both worlds. You can have an online version of an application, with all the features, without having to divert resources to your own IT infrastructure.
Cloud Hosting Experts
If your business works with managed business software applications (QuickBooks, Sage, etc.) with integration applications, it can be a hassle to manage the deployment of these on workplace computers, not to mention keep track of users and passwords. While the cloud makes it easier for your business to grow, Summit Hosting can make your business become more productive. Our unique dedicated server cloud hosting enables businesses to truly harness the power of the cloud by hosting all your applications on our secure, dedicated servers while giving you the flexibility to customize your environment according to your needs.
With 10+ years of hosting experience, we could go on and on and on about the reasons why you should install your QuickBooks, Sage, or other applications on a cloud server. However, we’re going to pause here. If you’re interested in learning more details about the benefits of cloud hosting or how easy it is to migrate your data into the cloud, contact one of our knowledgeable hosting specialists at Summit Hosting today!