Cloud computing is a fast-growing trend. But there is a division when it comes to small businesses - they are more likely than large enterprises to be either ahead of the curve or behind it. A recent report details that 38% of SMEs are mature cloud users, but they are always twice as likely as enterprises to have no cloud adoption plans at all.

The benefits of cloud-based solutions for small businesses is twofold: you need to simultaneously keep up with some competitors - the other mature cloud business users - and differentiate your business from others - those without plans who will fall behind. It is predicted that 78% of small businesses will have adopted cloud computing by 2020. But it’s not just a case of “keeping up with the Joneses” - cloud adoption brings significant benefits, which we will explore in this post. And as small businesses may stand to gain financially even from just small changes, read on to learn more!

Cloud solutions are easily scalable as your business grows

Small businesses, through their very nature, don’t benefit from economies of scale in the same way that large enterprises do. It can be costly to purchase traditional software solutions, especially when small or new businesses require greater flexibility as they learn and grow.

Adding new users to such systems is generally straightforward, and they’ll be able to familiarise themselves with backed-up data so they can’t wreak too much havoc as they learn!  

You can access your applications from anywhere

Gone are the days when all of a business’s “business” was done on the premises. Remote working is becoming ever more popular - half of the UK workforce are expected to be working remotely by 2020.

With this shift towards a more versatile and mobile employee base, businesses need to provide infrastructure that can be accessed “on the go”, allowing employees to get work done wherever they are. Even for businesses whose employees are all on site, widening access to your tools will reduce the need for dedicated IT infrastructure.

Utilising the cloud can increase collaboration and efficiency

With more people working together, traditional offline tools run into serious problems. Managers will know well the communication headaches that can occur when people are working from different versions of the same document. Whether it’s employee schedules with the wrong shifts or out of date order paper copies of order forms, non-coherence can be costly.

Cloud solutions allow for real-time updates that allow all your employees to stay on the same page, working collaboratively on feedback, changes, and new procedures as they’re incorporated into your business.

The cloud can provide small businesses with more security

IT security is a big issue for small businesses. The sort of technology required to protect in-house systems may not be affordable, but if each of your business applications is handled by a large cloud company with their own dedicated security, you don’t have to worry.

Many cloud-based solution providers have invested in multiple data centers around the world, ensuring security and protection from regional attacks. They also typically have high-grade encryption protocols and security certifications - considerations most small business managers will be happy to do without!

Small businesses stand to save with cloud solutions

The initial upfront costs of cloud-based solutions are the obvious drawback for small businesses who may not have the capital to invest in expensive software, but their versatile nature can deliver longer term savings too, with offerings matched to the needs of the business.

Cloud solutions generally have tiered or usage-based pricing structures and some may even be available without charge to small business users, like Findmyshift’s free Personal plan which can cater for up to 5 employees.

The money saved from cloud solutions can be crucial for growth too, as 70% of companies reported reinvesting cloud cost-savings back into their business.

Overall, cloud-based solutions can level the playing field for small businesses - offering access to sophisticated tools, expert knowledge, and advanced security even as they’re growing.

About the author

Jake Waller is a wordsmith who plies his trade here at Findmyshift. He uses his background in engineering to simplify complex topics for a variety of tech firms. When not writing for Findmyshift he blogs under a pseudonym at My Name is Skylance and has a passion for creative writing and editing, about which he's always talking on Twitter.