Cloud services offer small businesses both power and convenience, leveling the playing field against larger competitors and helping them expand into new markets.

“It allows completely new types of small businesses to exist,” said William Webb, IEEE Fellow and CEO of the Weightless SIG.

Traditionally, small businesses require expensive computing capabilities to develop and deliver new products. “Since you can now buy that from the cloud, you can provide services that historically small businesses just wouldn’t be able to provide," he said.

Simple solutions

Anyone with a laptop and access to a network can take advantage of the cloud. For small businesses that means scalability and low overhead costs.

"All of the cloud-based systems are reliable, simple to use, and don’t require any particular expertise. They really can offer a lot of services that are competitive without having to invest a lot.”

“There’s almost nothing that you need to have an in-house system for these days,” Webb said. Troubleshooting is easy, too. "All of the cloud-based systems are reliable, simple to use, and don’t require any particular expertise," he added. "They really can offer a lot of services that are competitive without having to invest a lot.”

Migration made easy

Small businesses considering a switch to the cloud should look for dependability and redundancy. Make sure the service stores information securely and backs it up regularly. Consider paying more for privacy capabilities.

But the changeover should be simple and straightforward.

“It does really allow you to just jump completely from one system to another, and you can do it immediately,” Webb said. “You don’t need a long, careful, slow transition process.”