Staff Writer

Computer technology is constantly evolving. New programs, software, hardware and devices are hitting the market every day to make every aspect of people’s lives easier to manage.

Successful business owners know to research the latest tech trends to find which innovations will streamline their operations and which aren’t worth the investment. This is especially true for small businesses that often have fewer financial resources and less time to waste than bigger corporations. It’s not always easy to know which new tech will save money in the long run.

For entrepreneurs who have yet to invest in the cloud, small business experts urge them to consider this program that can drastically simplify many of their daily processes, all while saving overhead costs.

“Owners can access the files from anywhere on any device.”

What the cloud means for small businesses
As reported by Entrepreneur, one of the biggest benefits of cloud computing is the convenience. By storing important information on a tech cloud, business owners can access the files from anywhere on any device. Gone are the days of carrying a hard copy storage device that can get lost of damaged – if the laptop is accidentally left at the office, owners can just log in from their home computer if they need to. This is also great for traveling and quickly accessing data from a smartphone or tablet.

The mobility of the cloud helps decrease operation costs, since business owners no longer need to invest in additional storage hard drives or storage equipment. This isn’t the only area where the cloud can save money, however. With less physical equipment, entrepreneurs can also bring down electricity costs. There are fewer upgrades to install and no more repairing or replacing damaged machinery. While there’s still a need for essential devices to access the cloud and perform many functions of the office, cloud computing cuts down on redundancies and replaces obsolete gadgets.

Making the switch to the cloud
It may seem daunting to worry about converting hard drives over to a cloud space, but these programs are designed to be user-friendly. Business owners should research the companies and programs that are available to them and choose one that will meet their data and budget needs.

According to Forbes, it’s important to start by deciding what needs to go on the cloud and what can simply be archived. Most businesses have records that are important to save but won’t need to be accessed frequently enough to warrant taking up space in cloud storage.

Once it’s been determined what can go on the cloud, business owners will need to follow the instructions set by their cloud-hosting company to transfer the files over. They’ll want to keep backup copies of the most essential records and test the files on the cloud to make sure they uploaded properly. Once files have been proven to be cloud-accessible, administrators can then remove the appropriate copies from the hard drives.

Cloud security
An important part of a computing cloud is keeping it safe. How Stuff Works reported that the best way to do this is with strong passwords. Passwords should only be shared with essential personnel and should be changed every few months.

As always, business owners should educate their staff on safe online practices. No one should try to access any unknown emails, links and files to prevent virus infections.

Equipment and business industry piece brought to you by Marlin Equipment Finance, a nationwide provider of commercial lending solutions for small and mid-size businesses. Marlin’s equipment financing and loan products are offered directly to businesses, and through third party vendor programs, which include manufacturers, distributors, independent dealers and brokers in the security, food services, healthcare, information technology, office technology and telecommunications sectors.