The benefits of cloud computing are important to understand whether you own a small business, run the IT department in a growing enterprise or are in charge of making resource management decisions for a company of any size. If you don’t understand the benefits, you may also not understand what exactly the Cloud is, what the options are and how you can access and utilize it. So what is cloud computing? The Cloud is basically any environment – from email to data storage to online applications – that is accessed through a network like the Internet rather than being accessed through the limitations of physical hardware and in-house software. The fact of the matter is that cloud computing can help businesses and organizations of all sizes and types to streamline their operations, cut costs, encourage greater collaboration and innovation and do more with their resources. While there are still some issues such as privacy and security that must be taken into consideration before choosing a cloud service provider, and even which applications to access through the Cloud, there are a number of benefits to this technology.

#1: A New Level of Sophistication

When your enterprise is accessing new applications, infrastructure and software in the Cloud, you can do much more sophisticated things than you would have been able to do if all your tools were supported in-house. Cloud computing has opened up new possibilities that would have been too complicated or costly for many enterprises to support before.

#2: Collaboration Leads to Innovation

The Cloud offers convenient, reliable and dynamic access to content, documents and tools that foster collaboration in a myriad of professional environments. Even if there is a snow storm, the office has burned down or if there are thousands of miles between offices, employees and partners can still work together to complete projects and serve customers or clients without any roadblocks.

#3: Increased Productivity

Being able to access important documents and development environments from any location in the world (as long as there is Internet access) ensures a huge increase in productivity for everyone involved. This means you never have to run back to the office just to access a document again once you’re in the Cloud.

#4: IT Infrastructure and Support

You always have a tech support team standing by to troubleshoot and support your cloud computing needs, without having to pay anyone overtime. Whether you’re having technical difficulties or making upgrades, your team will be ready, and you’ll never have to worry about supporting the IT infrastructure in-house.

#5: More for Your Money

Cloud computing allows businesses and individuals to do more with fewer resources, and reduces the risk of investing in equipment that is just going to be out of date in a couple of years. Relying on a service provider to maintain the infrastructure for various applications and services also means you don’t need anyone around with a great deal of understanding about how this new brand of information technology works. You can just focus on what you do best.

#6: New Security Capabilities

Cloud computing has had a bad reputation due to security concerns, but if you are working with a reliable service partner you can leave the issue of security to a team of experts who understand a whole lot more about data security than you do. The fact that your data will be there even if an accident or disaster strikes your physical office is also a huge security benefit.

#7: Options to Suit Your Needs

One of the major benefits of cloud computing for growing businesses is the wide range of options for customization, so you never need to pay for services you don’t need. You can always modify your service levels when your budget allows or your business demands require.

Hopefully this list of benefits answers the question, “What is cloud computing, and what are its pros and cons.” If you’re still not sure whether switching aspects of your operation to the Cloud is the best option for your organization, there are experienced and knowledgeable business consultants who can help you explore your options and determine what’s right for you. One of the nice things about cloud computing is its flexibility, so you can determine a combination of options that provide the most benefit and value for your enterprise.