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"Cloud Computing and the Small Business"


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Monday, December 22, 2008

Large companies notwithstanding, an increasing number of mid sized and small businesses are looking at using the services of cloud computing in some form. According to a recently released report, close to 30% of mid sized companies (with 100 - 999 employees) were using services relating to cloud computing as of March, 2008. This surge in popularity is primarily because these solutions are user friendly and have little involvement in terms of maintenance, thereby making them perfect for businesses which have limited budgets and infrastructure.

Cloud computing enables small businesses to get their service and software needs at comparatively little investment at the onset. There are now a number of service providers who take care of cloud computing requirements, some of which include Amazon, Hewlett-Packard and IBM. These service providers have data centers where the servers are maintained and the service providers take care of any problems that occur, plan disaster recovery management, and constantly keep upgrading their software. In many scenarios, users can pay monthly and can get started at rather low costs. A small businesses employees can access the software via the internet.

Cloud computing is a great tool that a small business can use to match resources to needs, and computing budgets, during fluctuating demand. If you intend to restrict your IT expenditure or if you run a seasonal business; looking at and studying cloud computing, as an aid for small businesses, should serve you well. Very simply put, cloud computing is where the work is done at your computer, but not by your computer.

What this basically means is that, you, as a small business, do not have to buy the infrastructure (the peripherals, the network, and the servers), planning implementation, and hiring staff for supporting different software applications. Small businesses can get third parties to maintain applications and support and software can be gotten through lease. Also, since this model of computing is scalable; and owing to its flexible architecture, growing and seasonal businesses can choose to use specific services, and use the services in accordance to the business' varying demands.

A simple example of cloud computing being used by a small business is a small business' requirement for an office suite application. Instead of buying, installing and maintaining it on multiple computers, the business can opt for a cloud model. These do not require in house IT staff for the model's upkeep or functioning. The business' data can be housed with service providers and the business' employees can have access to the data through the internet. Web browsers like Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox can be used as cloud clients.

If you are the owner of a small business, cloud computing can not only give you access to some of the world's best computing infrastructure and large databases, it would do so in an outsourced fashion on the basis of variable costing. With the advent of the Web 2.0, buying and installing software on your computer, thanks to cloud computing, can soon become a thing of the past.

Provided By: Ray Plumlee
Website Address: www.WWWHelper.com

Ray Plumlee, a retired Naval Officer, retired from the Navy in 1994. Since 1996 he has built his online business by providing services and advice to other people desiring to start an online home based business.

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