Six Things Small Businesses Should Know About the Cloud

What-does-cloud-computing-have-in-store-for-Small-and-Medium-Business-Enterprises-2You’re running a small business and you’re not at IT expert — why should you care about the cloud? Because small businesses of all kinds stand to reap big benefits from cloud computing, and you don’t have to be anything close to a tech expert to take advantage of them.

If the cloud is something of a meaningless buzzword to you, here’s the summary: It allows you to buy all sorts of IT infrastructure, from software to hardware, as a service over the Internet, rather than a physical product. That matters because the price is much lower. You have access to systems that can manage all sorts of critical business functions – data storage, invoicing, accounting, billing, marketing, lead generation, payroll, call center operations and much more — without the expense of buying and installing hardware and software on site.

Why is cloud computing so exciting for small businesses? 

Cloud computing levels the playing field between small businesses and much larger ones. It provides small businesses with access to tools and technologies that were once too expensive for them. This paves the way for small businesses to compete on a more even playing field.

Exactly what types of services are offered over the cloud? 

The tools we listed above are examples of Software as a Service (SaaS). Just about anything you used to accomplish by buying licensed copies of software in CD form and installing on them on your computers can now be accomplished by subscribing to the an online service and accessing it via your Internet connection. You can also buy infrastructure such as server space, memory and storage this way (IaaS). Essentially, you’re just renting server, memory or storage space from the vendor.

Why is a SaaS subscription better than just buying software outright? 

Two reasons – cost and flexibility. There’s very little if any upfront investment required. Instead, you pay a monthly fee for each person using the service. You can discontinue at any time, so you’re not locked in to a product or service. Also, you can access company data and business applications from remote locations — on the road, from home, even from a different country. You’re not glued to the office.

How much does cloud-based software cost? 

That depends on what you buy and how many people within the company are using it. However, even complex software products can be found for a couple hundred dollars or less per month per user. The cloud, as we’ve said, is affordable for the vast majority of small businesses.

Is the cloud secure? 

That’s a difficult question to answer because, again, it depends. Not all cloud products and vendors are alike – there’s a lot of variation out there. A critical part of choosing a vendor is examining its security practices and policies in depth. Don’t take the company’s word that the product is secure; ask detailed questions like these. Never assume you’re not at risk because you’re a small business. Hackers target you, too.

How popular is the cloud among small businesses? 

The cloud is gaining serious momentum among small businesses, and that is only expected to accelerate. A recent study by Emergent Research, a consulting firm, and Intuit, which makes financial software, said 37 percent of small businesses in the United States use cloud computing. They expect that number to reach 80 percent – more than double – within the next six years.

Kunnect sells 100% cloud-based call center software that includes a predictive dialer to businesses and political campaigns. Our software, hosted seamlessly in the Amazon platform, manages all inbound and outbound calling for a flat rate of $125 per agent per month with a flat deposit of $125 per user. There are no hidden fees. In addition to the predictive dialer, features include: inbound and outbound calling, CRM integration, call scripting, call recording, ACD, skills-based routing, IVR, live monitoring, real-time statistics, historical reporting and more.

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