Director of Small Business Services, FF&F
“It is no longer a question of if—but rather when—companies will completely move their operations to the cloud. The cloud is transformational and foundational to the future of business, driving the ability to connect with customers and provide experiences never before imagined. Products become services, services become experiences. Business processes adapt rapidly and new business models emerge.”
– Mark Hurd, CEO of Oracle
Cloud-based applications and storage have been around for over a decade, but have recently become the norm for businesses and individuals alike. Most users in the accounting and finance sectors are already well-versed in the advantages and efficiencies they create. From small and midsized companies using QuickBooks Online to large corporations using Oracle and other programs, the Cloud is becoming more and more prevalent in today’s high-speed business climate.
There are many benefits to the use of Cloud applications, making it a no-brainer for a business of any size to make the migration. The 5 advantages highlighted here all combine to increase efficiency, decrease costs and help you go green.
Virtually all cloud-based software enables access for multiple users, from any location—effectively creating greater efficiency. Most applications are accessible wherever an internet connection is available; this includes your smartphone and other devices for truly mobile accessibility.
The real-time processing of data further contributes to the perks of utilizing cloud-based applications. Transactions are processed (and, usually, posted or transmitted) in real time, enabling you to access the information you need when you need it – without waiting for transactions to be posted and reports to be finalized.
“Going green” is a hot topic that’s becoming increasingly important for most business, and switching to Cloud-based software can help companies of any size in their efforts to go green. Most applications allow for digital document storage, which entails the electronic storage of data offsite (rather than on a local server), which directly minimizes the amount of IT equipment needed. Have file cabinets full of A/P or sales Invoices? With Cloud-based document storage, there will no longer be a need for physical files – freeing up space in your office. By simplifying processes and saving physical space, Cloud applications save you considerable time and money, all while decreasing your carbon footprint.
One of the frequently-overlooked benefits of migrating to the Cloud is the consolidation and unification of multiple systems into one, effectively contributing to a reduction in IT costs. When all your data is stored on and accessible from the Cloud, it’s less likely that you’ll need multiple systems in which to store information. There are an ever-increasing number of Cloud applications today that include a wide range of modules and capabilities, enabling you to filter most of your needs through one uniform system.
Perhaps the most important benefit of Cloud-based technology is security. Security has long been perceived as one of the drawbacks of Cloud computing; yet, in reality, it is actually considerably easier to maintain high levels of security with Cloud technology as a result of automated updates. In fact, in a tech era in which we’re currently surrounded by the threat of major hacks, with millions of pieces of information being compromised, Cloud-based technology provides a solution. Many hacks are, at least in part, due to improper security measures–most notably, users neglecting to update their software to its most current version. Software manufactures are very quick to address security risks and publish security patches often, yet many users do not update them frequently or early enough.
Think about your personal computer. Do you update it every time you receive a message to do so? Do you update your smart phone when notified? To put things in perspective, now imagine you’re a large corporation and have multiple locations with many software applications running, each with various versions: it would be an IT nightmare to constantly update all of those applications and users. In most cases, it is not done on a timely basis and that opens the door for security breaches.
With automatic updates facilitated by Cloud-based technology, that risk is greatly reduced across products and users. This greatly reduces unnecessary downtime and reduces your IT costs, allowing you to invest more into superior technology and worry less about security.
THE FUTURE IS NOW
Cloud-based technology is the future, but it is already widely accessible across all industries and areas. Providers are rapidly developing their products for the Cloud, and it is expected that they will eventually phase out entirely from supporting in-house, desktop products. The pace of change is accelerating at such a fast rate that it is imperative for companies of all sizes to keep up with the changing climate in order to avoid obsolescence.