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How Small Business Owners Are Using the Cloud To Grow Faster and Smarter

I am blogging on behalf of Visa Business and received compensation for my time from Visa for sharing my views in this post, but the views expressed here are solely mine, not Visa’s. 

Visit http://facebook.com/visasmallbiz to take a look at the reinvented Facebook Page: Well Sourced by Visa Business. The Page serves as a space where small business owners can access educational resources, read success stories from other business owners, engage with peers, and find tips to help businesses run more efficiently. Every month, the Page will introduce a new theme that will focus on a topic important to a small business owner’s success. For additional tips and advice, and information about Visa’s small business solutions, follow @VisaSmallBiz and visit http://visa.com/business.

From gaming apps to disaster recovery, there’s no end to the applications for Cloud utilization for small businesses. The availability of Cloud-based storage has opened up opportunities for small business owners, who are now able to trust their day-to-day I.T. needs to offsite experts.

Document-sharing and project management are among the most popular uses for Cloud computing. “I use the Cloud to store all of my business files via Dropbox,” says Othniel Denis, principal of Excellent Ones Consulting. “I can do work on my smartphone and even email links to clients for quick and easy download. Best of all, changes are linked no matter what device I use.”

File management isn’t the only reason businesses are embracing the Cloud. “We use a Cloud-based videoconferencing system called Easymeeting,” WAM Enterprises president Mike Wolfe says. “It allows us to connect with our customers all over the country and we don’t need expensive videoconferencing equipment. People can login from their tablet, smartphone, laptop or desktop. It’s really helpful for us during training and meetings.”

If convenience is a motivator for moving to the Cloud, disaster recovery can be a business-saver. During the recent hurricanes that caused power outages across the east coast, many small businesses learned just how valuable Cloud-based storage can be.

Data center administration company CSU Industries believes the Cloud saved their business during Hurricane Sandy. With clients all over the world relying on CSU’s service, downtime wasn’t an option for the Cedarhurst, New York-based company.

“I continue to be amazed at how CSU as a company remained online throughout this ordeal,” CEO Avram Weissman said in a press release. “Although our headquarters lost power for days, as did our first backup data center, we managed to be up 100 percent of the time with a secondary backup center and a team of amazing employees who worked either remotely or at our temporary Melville office to ensure every one of our customers received the support they’ve come to expect from CSU.”

As small businesses are becoming more comfortable with the Cloud’s reliability, many are choosing to use it to store their own apps. Codigo Cube Trivia, an app that allows a gaming cube to interact with a person’s smartphone, is housed in the Cloud.

“The actual game itself is housed in the Cloud,” Todd Ruehs, managing partner of Four Clowns Game & Toy Company, says. “The advantages for the player are that they don’t have to take up valuable storage space on their device, they get free lifetime updates as we add new questions, and they get a cool interactive game that is using QR Code technology.”

As businesses continue to discover the cost savings of Cloud computing, chances are, more businesses will come to rely completely on it. Almost every small business today has a great story about how they are utilizing the Cloud, illustrating just how integral this technology is becoming to our everyday lives.

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About Ramon Ray

Ramon Ray, Marketing & Technology Evangelist, Smallbiztechnology.com & Infusionsoft. Full bio at http://www.ramonray.com . Check him out on Google Plus, Twitter or Facebook

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