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Whether you’re ready for a change or not, cloud computing is changing the face of IT. Cloud computing, a method of delivering computing as a service, has shaped the way we run businesses today and made it easier to run lean operations. Long gone are the days of convoluted IT infrastructural processes and lengthy deployments.

For entrepreneurs who want to save costs and reduce risk, cloud solutions are often the best way to go. Cloud solutions are already everywhere: companies like Flickr, DropBox, Google Drive, FedEx, Adobe, and Cisco offer widely-used cloud software. Analysts predict the future of cloud computing will comprise a $127 billion market by 2018.

To make the best out of integrating cloud computing into your business practice, it’s helpful to understand exactly how this revolutionized technology is shaping global technology and how it can help you.

Scalable Solutions

Cloud solutions are highly scalable, largely because they employ as “pay as you grow” process allowing you to build onto the system as the business expands. Cloud computing makes it possible to quickly react to the needs of your business, which is much more difficult to do when operating the same resources locally. Additionally, it’s also easier to manage those resources, because, for example, businesses no longer has to focus on the amount physical server they have, and can instead focus on the management of those virtual resources.

Project Management Software

Many well-known project management software applications, like Asana, Basecamp, and JIRA are cloud-based. This cloud software is the area of cloud computing called “software as a service” (SaaS). These project management tools allow startups to effectively manage projects by providing a platform for task management, project outlines, storyboards, and collaboration. Because they are cloud solutions, team members can access the software in any web browser and in many cases, mobile apps. This is especially useful when managing remote teams, particularly in design and development. Startups will often outsource work to vendors for a fraction of the cost (versus hiring in-house resources) and use these applications to keep duties and progress housed in one area, and take control of risk management and scope. Project management software has dramatically changed the way businesses run and keep track of progress, though this is only a small piece of the pie. Other web-accessible software programs, like Salesforce, offer powerful tools for business management, too.

Seamless Communication

Proper client communication is essential to run a successful business. Even when projects are successful, if the client was kept in the dark throughout the working process, the experience likely won’t be as memorable for them and they won’t recommend or work with you again. Though communication is a core area of business management, it’s more critical in some industries than others. For example, the legal industry requires constant communication between the firm and its clients. This is why entrepreneurs seeking the best phone system for law firms tend to go the cloud-based route. Hosted VoIP services come equipped with a slew of features and don’t require excess hardware or complex installation and updates. VoIP phone systems allow easier management out-of-state and out-of-country communication, without sky-high billing. Lastly, they make it simple to work remotely and on the go via various devices.

Better Hosting Flexibility

In general, cloud computing networks can be either public, private, or both — this alone provides great flexibility for business owners. In the past, businesses were forced to lock into lengthy contracts with legacy hosting services. The cloud computing solutions of today offer much greater flexibility because they are usage-based. This is perfect for businesses that experience fluctuations in sales depending on the season or during promotional periods. This is because, with cloud hosting, the business has access to multiple servers. If any of those servers becomes overwhelmed, it’s switched to another server.

Without the right resources, a server crash could occur and cause the website to go down until a resolution is found. This could result in a huge loss for the business. According to a survey conducted by CA Technologies, small business lose on average $55,000 per year due to IT failures, while mid-size businesses lose $91,000 and large companies lose over $1 million. Many businesses fail to comprehend the true cost of downtime and have difficulty conceptualizing exactly how much money was lost. Cloud computing offers the proper solutions to prevent this, as well as the security to sustain it.