By Richard Messik, Chartered Accountant and Co-founder of Cloud Advocates

When there is a major paradigm shift in technology one has to question -”yes clever - but how does it help me and my business?” However when a major paradigm shift, such as the Cloud, occurs, the question that needs to be asked is “will my business suffer if I don’t adopt the Cloud?”

Cloud technology, which might be seen as a natural extension of the Internet, adds value to the business delivery method in a number of ways that enhance business operations and client service.

So, what are the principal business advantages of the Cloud:

Anytime anywhere - Where you are or when you are, is no longer relevant. Providing there is Internet access, which is becoming more widespread as well as 3G communication on mobile devices, files and documents can be accessed. This facilitates operations when on the road or out of the office - especially useful for home working etc.

Business disruption - Looking back over the last few years where major natural disasters such as flooding or exceptional winters causing untold disruption, many businesses have been wiped out, not least because computers have been damaged and backups have not been routinely taken or checked.

Because the Cloud stores data other than on the users computer, it can be accessed from anywhere. The loss or damage of hardware does not mean the loss of data and software.

Data sharing - Essential for project collaboration or indeed any scenario where data needs to be shared. The Cloud enables multi - user access to files and information thus enabling collaboration in real time on up to date information.

Security - The “elephant in the room” when discussing Cloud. Despite so many preconceived ideas about the Cloud not being secure, the reality is that it is more secure than most inhouse IT systems. Data is hosted, in the main, in purpose built data centres with top grade security protocols and procedures, including backups, redundancy and data transfer protocols.

The loss of a laptop, carelessly left on the back seat of a car, no longer means the loss and disclosure of sensitive material.

So the answer to the questions posed above is Yes - the Cloud adds value to business.

Richard Messik is a Chartered Accountant who specialises in Cloud Computing. He is a co founder of Cloud Advocates,an association of consultants who aim to demystify the Cloud and provide pragmatic help and advice for businesses, organizations and accounting practices. To find out more, visit cloudadvocates.com

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