Over the past few years, cloud-based technology has become more popular than ever.
Here, we’ll look at some cloud-based innovations that can assist entrepreneurs and small businesses in their daily processes.
What is ‘the cloud’?
If you are a new entrepreneur or are looking for some clarification on what the cloud actually is, don’t worry, you are not alone. Over the past few years, the cloud has become a buzzword of sorts, used as an umbrella term to encompass a wide range of different technologies. Put simply, the cloud is a virtual space that things can be accessed and operated from. More technically, it is a collection of remote servers accessible via the internet that host infrastructure and software.
In hosting things online, this has opened up a wide range of opportunities across a myriad of different sectors, changing the way we interact with certain processes. Let’s look at card games, for example. Card games are played using a physical deck of cards around a physical table.
Cloud technology has paved the way for virtual casino card games like blackjack at Paddy Power. These games are accessed and played through the internet, on any device, from wherever you are located. There are also live blackjack options that feature a real croupier, table, and deck of cards, utilising technology like optical character recognition and live streaming for an immersive, engaging, and authentic experience – just accessed from the cloud.
With this in mind, cloud-based technology has the opportunity to bring some of that magic to small businesses, helping entrepreneurs to streamline their processes, future-proof their infrastructure, and solve various pain points.
Cloud-based innovations to consider
Cloud-based phone solutions
In the UK, physical phone lines known as the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) – which carries both analogue and digital signals via the Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN) – is set to be switched off by BT OpenReach in 2025. In fact, some areas have already been. With this in mind, a cloud-based telephony solution operating via Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) would be a worthy consideration.
These systems operate through a cloud-hosted online portal, allowing calls to be made and received through any device. This means businesses don’t need any physical installation of infrastructure – you can use existing devices. In the event of an update or a fix being needed, these can be done remotely and virtually.
VoIP is entirely scaleable to solo entrepreneurs, small businesses, and global enterprises alike. It can often also be integrated into cloud-based Unified Communications (UC) platforms to streamline all internal and customer-facing communications.
HR and Finance Innovations
Another group of cloud-based innovations to consider is HR and finance suites. It might go without saying that the majority of paperwork in a business is keeping records of employees, suppliers, invoices, receipts, and accounts. Not only does this take up space, but it can also be a risk – if physical records are lost without a backup, this could go against data protection obligations, and make it difficult to file accounts. With this in mind, using cloud-based software – either instead of or as a backup to your physical paperwork – can protect you if anything was to go wrong.
There is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to business – and this is no different. The cloud-based technologies that are most suitable for your needs depend on your business, its operations, and your way of working. With these innovations in mind, you’ll be able to begin researching the technologies that would suit you personally.