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Countdown to 2016:  Part 3

By Rieva Lesonsky

Technology has transformed the world of business in recent years, and one of the biggest changes benefiting small business owners is the increase in the number of cloud technologies available. Remember the days of copying documents onto floppy disks, or emailing files to yourself if you wanted to work at home after-hours? Those days are long gone, thanks to the cloud. Here are six ways cloud technology helps your business grow.

  1. It increases productivity. Using cloud storage systems, such as Microsoft OneDrive, to keep your business data available anywhere, anytime you need it makes you and your employees more productive and efficient. No longer are you limited by not being able to access a crucial file at a critical moment. Save even more time with simple search technology, which makes it easy to find the file you need quickly, or use Office Delve find content stored in the cloud without having to remember filenames or folder names (a true lifesaver for me).
  1. It enhances collaboration. Today’s workplace is all about teamwork, and the cloud helps collaboration happen. Look for cloud-based tools such as shared calendars that make it easy to schedule meetings, online videoconferencing using multi-party HD video, and the ability to edit shared files. Office 365 offers all of these features—plus, it works on Windows, Android or iOS devices so you can collaborate with anyone, no matter what platform they’re on.
  1. It keeps your files up-to-date. Cloud-based storage and sharing applications such as Office 365 automatically sync your documents across all devices whenever a change is made. This ensures you always have the latest version of your work—and so do the people you share it with.
  1. It safeguards your company and customer data. Keeping your data in the cloud can actually secure it better than storing it on your own servers, because you can access the expertise and systems of cloud service providers. For example, when you choose OneDrive for Business, you can rest easy knowing industry-leading cloud security is protecting your sensitive data.
  1. It captures your brilliant ideas. If you’re anything like me, you get your best ideas at odd moments — when you don’t always have a way to write them down. Use cloud-based tools like Microsoft’s OneNote to store all your big ideas. Just grab your mobile device and you can take notes, clip and save webpages to read later, or save photos, videos and other images. Because it’s all in the cloud, you can easily share those ideas with your partners, employees or customers, as well.
  1. It gives you room to grow. No more worries about running out of space on the hard drives or backup drives you used to use to store your business data. Cloud-based storage can scale up instantly, whenever your growing business needs more storage space. Cloud-based applications let you onboard new employees fast—no downloading, installing and updating software; just access it in the cloud.

Already, the things small business owners can do with the cloud seem almost unlimited, and 2016 is sure to bring even more cloud-based tools and applications. Stay up-to-date with how the cloud is affecting your industry and you’ll keep your business on the growth track.

Be sure to stay tuned for the next article in this special “Countdown to 2016” series: 4 Reasons You Must Update Your Business Software

You can see past Countdown to 2016 articles here:

Turbocharge Your Business Productivity
How Going Mobile Is Crucial to Your Business Success