January 31, 2017

Getting your Head in the Cloud 101: For Small Business

Shelley Ng

Shelley Ng is Vice-President of Product Management. In her role, Shelley is responsible for developing product strategy, launching and growing new, innovative, profitable businesses and financial management. Recognized as an influential leader in her field, she has a successful track record in product; innovation, development and marketing.

You may be surprised to know that only half of small businesses today have a clear understanding of cloud computing – and what it can do for them[1]. This is in sharp contrast to a vast majority of mid-sized to enterprise businesses embracing cloud and transforming to hybrid environments in record numbers.

So what is cloud computing – and why should you care? Cloud computing is a model for enabling on-demand network access to a pool of computing resources. It can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management – and minimal need for costly service providers. As such, the Cloud is a liberating choice for those owners who transition their IT operations there, wisely and strategically.

Types of cloud computing

There are three different kinds of cloud computing, where different services are being provided for you. They are:

  • Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) This means you are buying virtualized computing resources over the Internet, such as servers or storage. Simply purchase what you need and pay-as-you-go. The web hosting service that you are likely using for your business website is a simple example of IaaS: you pay a monthly subscription or a per-megabyte/gigabyte fee to have a hosting company serve up files for your website from their servers.
  • Software as a Service (SaaS). Instead of installing and maintaining software, you simply access it via the Internet, freeing yourself from complex software and hardware management. Its applications are sometimes called Web-based software, on-demand software, or hosted software. As a customer, you have no hardware or software to buy, install, maintain, secure or update. Simply access your application/software over the Internet whenever you need it.
  • Platform as a Service (PaaS) This is where you develop applications using Web-based tools so they run on systems software and hardware provided by another company. For example, you might develop your own e-commerce website using a vendor’s web-tools and also have the whole thing, including the shopping cart, checkout, and payment mechanism running on that vendor’s site.

Canadian entrepreneurs who have jumped on the cloud bandwagon are singing its praises. The newest cloud-based services are empowering them with anywhere, anytime access to flexible, mobile business tools and resources that simplify their IT infrastructure, reduce their business costs, and help them deliver top notch service.

Here are 3 reasons to get your business in the Cloud today:

  1. Lower costs

The power of cloud-computing means your business can do a lot more with less. It allows you to buy only the services you want, when you want them, cutting the upfront capital costs of computers and peripherals.

  1. Better collaboration

The ability to collaborate across boundaries, time zones and borders is becoming an increasingly critical success factor for businesses. The Cloud enables this collaboration with the ability to save and access various files via the Internet, allowing employees to easily work from the same master document.

  1. Increased flexibility

The ability to access work-related files and information from any device in any place at any time is one of the greatest benefits of the Cloud. In addition, small-business owners can further lower their costs by opting to implement BYOD (bring your own device); this is where employees work on their own tablets and laptops — even their smartphones — eliminating the need for equipment purchases or workspace.

The Cloud has some great benefits for managing your HR and payroll too:

Abiding by new HR and Payroll rules and regulations is simplified – With automatic updates, you’ll not only stay current without having to keep up with the 200 ever-changing federal and provincial regulations in Canada and the many federal, state and local regulations in the US. But you will reduce the risk involved by not being compliant and paying the heavy fines associated with non-compliance.

HR and Payroll becomes a more predictable expense – When your data and workflow is scattered across multiple applications, errors and inconsistencies are bound to occur. With cloud-based technology, everything is together in one application.

It’s easy to go green – Cloud computing allows you to handle your HR and payroll with a minimal amount of paper. Electronic statements allow employees to view their paystubs and other data either online or via a mobile device.

In terms of future adoption, things look extremely bright. 451 Research’s Market Monitor forecasts that the market for cloud computing will hit $21.9B in 2016 and more than doubling to $44.2bB by 2020[2]. Furthermore, did you know that by 2020, it is projected that 78% of small businesses will be transitioning to cloud computing[3]… so there is no question you will be hearing a lot more about this transformational technology in the decades to come.

Want to learn more about HR/Payroll cloud computing for your small business? Contact Ceridian today.

 

[1] https://primus.ca/index.php/bc_en/news-and-events/primus-news-survey-finds-half-of-canadian-small-businesses-now-use-cloud-based-services/
[2] http://www.forbes.com/sites/louiscolumbus/2016/03/13/roundup-of-cloud-computing-forecasts-and-market-estimates-2016/#22c0dc4674b0
[3] http://graduatedegrees.online.njit.edu/mba-resources/mba-infographics/cloud-computing-in-small-business/

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