Online database management is becoming increasingly more convenient for companies to incorporate into their business. Beyond the obvious benefits of bringing your database online, where it increases the ease of accessing vital information from anywhere around the world, there are many less-obvious benefits of cloud computing that many organizations are not aware of.
If you are considering moving your database online, I highly recommend reading over the following benefits to assist you with your decision. There are some you may already be familiar with, but I am sure you will find most of these benefits are ones you are not aware of, which will show you just how beneficial a move to online database management can be.
1. Leveraging Economies of Scale
Without an online database, we are forced to rely on hardware servers which can require a large pool of resources to maintain and increase your overall operating costs. As a result, cloud computing is an obvious major asset for companies. Making the move to cloud computing lowers costs by pooling resources which can be distributed to applications as needed, allowing for better efficiency and the utilization of an entire shared infrastructure. Cloud computing enables you to scale as needed and lower maintenance costs. With less hardware to power and maintain, you don’t need to keep a server, storage, network, or experts on staff full time.
2. Cloud-Based Document Storage
Cloud-based document storage is one of the benefits to online database management that pulls me in every time. To be able to save room on your hard-drive is a huge plus for anyone, especially if you are dealing with large files on a daily basis. You can replace a Dropbox with a cloud-based document storage solution that is integrated into your spreadsheets, invoices, workflows, and tasks. In addition, collaborating on a project is made that much easier with global accessibility and version control – swapping files and knowing that you are editing the correct version of the file at the right time is a great relief at any stage during the workflow. This type of document storage provides organization and sharing capabilities that allow you and your colleagues to work quickly and easily, regardless of location.
3. Data Security
Data security can be a constant struggle. If a company’s sensitive data is on a laptop or other hardware and that hardware is stolen, it is a huge liability for a company. You also run the risk of your hardware crashing and inevitably losing important data. However with online databases, data security is a lot more reliable. By storing data on the cloud, passwords can be changed and protected from strangers to access the data. Cloud computing also does not require you to rely on hardware which can be finicky, sophisticated to implement, and unreliable.
4. Collaborative Access
We all know that collaboration within a company is of the utmost importance. There are many tools out there which enable us to comfortably and easily collaborate with one another, including the use of a cloud-based database solution. By storing data and documents online, multiple colleagues can be in and work with a record at the same time. This is extremely important to companies and project management, particularly when working across the world with each other.
5. Disaster Preparedness
No one can predict when disaster may strike, but it is pertinent for every company to be completely prepared for that possibility. Online database management provides good solutions including integrated cloud backup for off-site storage, automated physical to virtual backup conversion in the case of server failure and comprehensive backup solutions to protect physical and virtual systems. As Steve Cullen, Senior Vice President of Worldwide Marketing for SMB and Cloud at Symantec, says, “evidence that cloud software is improving disaster recovery and that companies are happy with the results is evidenced by the 71% of respondents that reported their disaster preparedness improved with virtualization.”
6. No Software
The real beauty of a cloud-based database is there is no software required. Instead of having to constantly update or upgrade software, you can maintain your online database with ease. Your online database can be accessed by an unlimited number of devices, whereas with software you are limited to installing programs on a certain number of devices before having to purchase additional licenses.
7. Gather Information Online
Gathering info through web forms is a huge advantage with cloud computing. Web forms can be used to gather information online with cloud computing solutions. Information can be gathered easily from an employee or customer and the feedback can be entered automatically into the database as a new record. There are many different web form template layouts companies can use and customize further as needed.
8. Gather Information through Email
Gathering information and storing it in the cloud is not limited to web forms. You can also gather information through emails through tables. You can even set up an automated email response in reply to emails received. This increases not only the number of ways data can be collected and stored, but also the ease through which that information is obtained.
9. Freedom from (and for) IT
An IT team is part of the life-force of every company in today’s technology driven world. When you invest in cloud computing and move your company to an online database, your IT team is given more freedom to do their job. Since cloud computing is so easily customizable and is equipped to handle real-time modification of the application’s infrastructure, your IT will not be overwhelmed with maintain software and servers. You do not need IT to add a field or change a view, to set up systems or to work with hardware. Cloud computing will allow your IT team to concentrate on other elements in your business and you will still have a capable, responsive solution for your data storage.
10. Reduce Spending on Technology Infrastructure
Technology can be very costly, especially when you are looking to obtain the next big thing. Use an online database to maintain easy access to your information with minimal upfront spending. Instead of investing large amounts in technology, you can pay as you go with cloud computing on a weekly, quarterly, or even yearly basis depending on demand. This also minimizes the commitment that you would normally encounter with setting up everyone with software.
11. No Storage Space Requirement
With cloud computing, your data storage will no longer be subject to the capability of your computer. You do not have to download software or save documents on your computer. Instead, you use an application hosted online and all of your data and documents are stored in the cloud which can be accessed from anywhere.
12. Email Notifications
On a daily basis, there are so many things we need to remember. Meetings and conference calls and specific tasks pile up. It becomes impossible to keep track of it all without constantly setting reminders for yourself. My favorite organizational tool is email notifications. With email notifications, you can constantly be reminded of what you need to do, what others have done, and what the next step in a workflow is. Cloud computing incorporates email notifications to keep its users up to date on what is going on within the cloud. With these little notifications popping up in our inboxes, it becomes near impossible to miss out on any information.
13. Globalize Your Workforce for Cheap
Most companies have gone global with today’s workforce. The question for these companies is how to create a solution to their global communication and data exchange problems. The answer is cloud computing. With this solution, people across the globe can easily access the cloud with only an internet connection. Communication issues because a problem of the past, leaving your team with more time and more possibility for creating productive solutions.
14. Cost Effective
Cloud computing is much more cost effective than other database management solutions. The cost to maintain an online database and the cost per user is less than buying software for each new employee. There is no need to purchase hardware for cloud computing which saves you money and time. You don’t have to worry about buying software licenses or worry about overloading your servers with unnecessary space-eating programs.
15. Deploy Projects Faster
Project management takes a plethora of tools and individuals to be effective. Make it easier and faster to deploy your projects by signing up and installing a prebuilt app in a matter of minutes with your online database. You can customize a prebuilt application in a matter of minutes, increasing your project efficiency.
16. Scale As You Go
The ability to scale as you go is a major advantage for any company. Cloud computing opens up this option for your company by giving you the opportunity to build as you grow with minimal upfront costs. As your applications grow, your company will have the flexibility to respond as needed by adding memory, users, and functionality as you go.
17. Even the Playing Field
Small companies don’t have it as easy as some of their larger competitors. Utilizing a cloud-based database can help these small companies even the playing field, so to speak. With cloud computing, a small business can access the same tools as the larger businesses use. When a small company only has to pay for what they need but can still be on the same level as Fortune 100 companies with the tools they use, it makes competing in the industry more even for the little guy.