The cloud has drastically changed the way modern companies operate. Thanks to their high level of accessibility, now employees can access information from different devices – even mobile – allowing them to work from home or on-the-go. It allows for seamless and less time-consuming collaboration on projects amongst teams of employees with feedback, input, and changes being communicated instantaneously – without ever stepping foot inside the office.

Another key benefit of switching to cloud-based services and data storage is better security. Outside cloud providers can afford a critical level of protection against physical natural disasters, hackers, and employee mistakes or system errors.

The server “farms” of these large cloud providers have a strict level of security in place, and often maintain several farms in different locations where data is backed up multiple times to ensure it can be recovered after disaster.

Cloud providers hire expert tech teams to ensure their system’s safety from hacking. It’s these companies’ business to effectively maintain the most up-to-date and secure system, so the benefits are far beyond what any small business could afford to acquire on its own.

Using an IT provider to help with cloud-based needs

It’s useful to employ the services of a local cloud computing provider to advise and assist the business with cloud-based needs. This IT team will learn the business’ specific needs and find the best cloud solution for them including set-up, on-going support, and maintenance.

Even though many cloud services allow an average business person to set up their company’s system without assistance, a business can be more securely sure that no mistakes are made when using the help of experts. For example, a wrong setup of permissions and sharing can lead to data-loss or leakage of information into the wrong hands. The right IT provider is vastly experienced with using cloud-based services, however, and can avoid the consequences of disastrous errors by an inexperienced employee.

Top 5 Cloud Providers for Small Businesses

AWS (Amazon Web Services)

AWS is known to be Amazon’s major profit-maker that keeps the company afloat, offering a “pay-as-you-go” payment model. It’s perhaps the most famous cloud provider, the original company to make the concept of an outside cloud provider known and popular. It’s known as a leader for IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) and takes 33 percent of the total cloud market. AWS offers a comprehensive way of scaling up or down for businesses. It terms the elements used as “building blocks” which can be easily added or taken away. AWS is highly customizable, convenient to set up, and businesses can even take advantage of a free year-long trial.

Microsoft

Microsoft is said to offer its clients more cloud innovations than any other provider and help increase business value. It offers the most comprehensive array of services to ensure customers don’t need to spend time or effort finding other providers for different kinds of services. It excels in offering all three kinds of cloud services: IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service), PaaS (Platform as a Service) and SaaS (Software as a Service, or cloud applications). Microsoft gives businesses solutions across different devices, software and networks, including use of the IoT (Internet of Things).

Google Cloud

The “G-suite” is also a famous set of cloud-based services, software, and storage. It offers a free 12-month trial, during which potential users will find the system to be quite user-friendly. The Google Cloud platform is known for using a variety of resources, virtual machines, computers, etc. in Google data centers. They entered the game a bit late in 2008 but are still one of the forerunners of cloud service providers. For companies which deal with a lot of data, Google cloud tools offer strong analytic capabilities like BigQuery and Dataflow. Big companies like Coca-Cola, Disney, and Spotify – among others – are getting hitched to Google Cloud, for good reason.

IBM Cloud

The IBM Cloud has an intense focus on AI, offering many tools to help companies run their cloud environment. It also offers all three forms of cloud computing services (IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS). This allows for greater integration for customers using the platform as well as better security. IBM is known for its servers’ great performance due to its “bare metal” hardware. Additionally, they recently acquired “Red Hat” to give themselves even more of a competitive edge. IBM’s hybrid approach offers solutions for companies and looks towards the future of cloud computing.

Salesforce

The key to Salesforce’s success is said to be its customer-centered approach, which could even be described as a customer obsession. The software helps companies gain insight about their customer-base and how to improve sales, satisfaction, and overall relationship quality. An example of such software is Einstein, which offers the power of AI across many different applications, giving many employees access to it. Salesforce offers financial services from various other platforms, as well as outstanding mobile services, allowing customers to input data in new ways. What makes Salesforce stand out is its focus on customer success and their ability to create an entire culture around said customer satisfaction.

Ready to join the cloud?

At the end of the day, if your company isn’t using cloud computing and storage, it probably should be. The benefits are undeniable, and competition from companies already using it is far too great. The above-mentioned cloud providers are forerunners in the business and can give companies world-class tools to run a more successful business with the latest technology has to offer. It can be tricky to choose the best option for your business, so employing an outside IT service provider can assist with making the right choice and maintaining the best set-up for security, efficiency and productivity.

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