cloud computing

By Mitch Wainer

Just how important is the cloud for startups and the general small and midsized business (SMB) community? In today’s digital age, more and more companies are asking that very question, and wondering how they can utilize the cloud to actually help increase their overall bottom line. Here are four ways your startup or small business can leverage the cloud for business growth.

1. Convenience: Launching and configuring your own infrastructure used to take days if not weeks to complete–not to mention the overhead costs that were involved. Now, cloud technology offers this same infrastructure, on-demand, and online in under a minute.

Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) cloud providers are ideal for small agency businesses that develop websites and apps for their clients. Small businesses can now leverage one-click application provisioning, which enables them to instantly launch, and have their apps (such as WordPress, Ruby on Rails, etc.) pre-configured when their server goes online and becomes available. This is a huge time saver.

2. Agility: Agility is mission critical in a highly competitive tech industry where speed kills. Cloud hosting providers offer hourly billing which enables small businesses to quickly create, test, destroy, and re-create servers while only absorbing a minimal expense.

Scalability plays a major factor when considering the best infrastructure solution for your small business. As your product scales and more data is being stored, it is important that your cloud provider is agile and flexible enough to grow with you. The flexibility of cloud servers allows you to re-size your infrastructure at any time to absorb the increase in usage and avoid downtime.

3. Cost Savings: Cloud computing services are a huge cost saver compared to traditional shared and dedicated hosting solutions. Small businesses can now lower their hosting costs without absorbing the high overhead of dedicated hardware and employees to run the servers.

Fortunately, today’s cloud computing solutions empower small businesses to avoid huge upfront investments when developing big applications that would typically be incurred by larger businesses. No longer do small businesses have to build out massive infrastructure that costs thousands of dollars to support their big data applications.

And because cloud/virtual servers are less expensive than traditional hosting solutions, it directly correlates with redundancy costs, making backups less expensive.

4.   Reselling Opportunities: Small businesses can leverage a cloud hosting provider’s API to automate the provisioning process and resell to their own customers. At Digital Ocean, we see it all the time. Companies leverage our affordable cloud infrastructure through our API to repackage and resell their own online service or solution. Small businesses and startups are able to create and build a unique SaaS offering that includes hosting as a complete all-in-one package. This empowers small businesses to make bigger profits by keeping their overhead low by not dealing with their own in-house infrastructure costs.

Cloud-hosting expert and strategist Mitch Wainer is Chief Marketing Officer with DigitalOcean (@digitalocean), a leading New York-based cloud hosting provider.