Small business owners, ask yourself this: If every computing device and server that your business relies on all failed at the same time with no backups, would you be able to pick up your business where you left off? If the answer is ‘no’, then you need to consider your business technology infrastructure and how you can bring it into the cloud age.
The statistics are sobering: 60% of small businesses that suffer a critical data loss go out of business within six months (source). Most small business owners realize this, however, their solutions are typically ones from ten years ago, such as backing up a server in their closet to a USB hard drive.
Think about where technology was 10 years ago. Think about your cell phone 10 years ago compared to what you use now. That 10 year old cell phone is positively ancient compared to a modern smartphone, isn’t it? Why, then, is your critical business data relying on 10 year old technology and backup solutions?
If you are like most small businesses who don’t employ fulltime IT staff, who can you turn to if your data is lost? How much time and money will it take to hire an outside consultant to hopefully get your data back?
Does your productivity stop when you leave the office? Are you and your staff able to access business files from home and on the road, or do you have to drive to work to access your business’s data? Does collaborating on a document mean emailing multiple copies of it back and forth between several participants resulting in everyone having multiple copies in different degrees of completion?
What about your business workflows? How are you organizing the mountain of vendor invoices you receive every month for retrieval? Do you use a filing cabinet for the paper copies and email for digital versions (i.e. mix and match)? How easily can you find out how much you were charged by vendor A for part B on project C? How easily can you retrieve that information if you think there is a discrepancy? And more importantly, how safe are those invoices from disasters (data loss or physical destruction)?
Other examples could include your customer support software, inventory management, document management system. The list goes on, however, most small business are likely using that 10 year old solution: namely, software running on a server sitting in a closet in their shop. Most of those servers may not have timely security updates, either.
Good news! It’s almost 2016, and just as there are better options for your 10 year old cell phone, there are also better options for how you protect and utilize your business data.
You need a cloud audit!
At a recent networking event, I met a small business owner who works from her home. I asked her what kind of technology challenges she faces in her business, and she answered that things were fine. She paid a consulting company for tech support every month to maintain her computer, therefore “everything was going great,” she said.
However, a moment later she mentioned that she recently experienced a computer crash which lost over five years of emails from her computer. She was using POP3 for her work email and the consulting company could not recover a backup. Over five years worth of email were gone.
Clearly, things were not fine.
Most small business owners simply do not have the time to keep up with technology trends and are not sure exactly how they can improve their technology and business infrastructure. That’s why you need a cloud audit to show you what options are available.
At Small Cloud Tech, our business is run completely from Google Apps in the cloud. We have no on-site servers sitting in closets. All of our data is accessible from any computing device with no need to maintain physical backups. We can also collaborate on documents in real time without having to email copies back and forth.
We recently helped a client with managing their mixed format of invoices. After showing them how Evernote for Business can store and organize all of their invoices, they are now easier to organize, find, and share. Looking up that hard to find item from Vendor A for Part B on Project C is easy.
We also helped a client who was running their business from a 12 year old Windows server that was prone to crashing. Too much time was spent keeping their server operational resulting in less time running the business. After migrating their business email and data to Office 365, they no longer have to worry about keeping their IT infrastructure intact and are delighted with how smoothly it runs. Collaborating with employees in the field is much easier as well.
There is even better news! Most of these services are very inexpensive and offer terrific value. Google Apps is $5 per user per month. Evernote for Business is $12 per user per month. Most other cloud services offer similar pricing.
Additionally, these organizations have dedicated staff focused on security. Chances are it’s more secure than that server in your closet. For example, Google takes incredible measures securing their clients’ data far beyond what most companies are capable of doing by themselves.
The best part is that you do not need a full time IT person to continually maintain your system. Since the heavy lifting is done in the cloud, there is nothing for you to have to fix or update. Just log in and go.
Bring your small business into the cloud age
Just like the cell phone and a computer needs to be updated to work well in the year 2015, so does the infrastructure that a business runs on. There are now new opportunities to:
- Save time
- Save money
- Access any business data from anywhere
- Share data in real time with colleagues
- Top notch security
- Your data is always backed up and safe
How can we help you bring your small business into the cloud age? How can we help you save time, money, and headaches while also giving you the competitive advantage your business needs? Even if you don’t go through us, for peace of mind find a trusted professional that can bring your business into the year 2015!