Q&A: Can the cloud make you more efficient?

Clouds - Q&A: Can the cloud make you more efficient?Can cloud computing make your business more efficient? We asked Graham Jones, founder of cloud computing firm Nuage Technology

What can cloud computing help business do more efficiently?

"Businesses tend to need help managing and organising their data. The most common problem is with backups – in many cases companies spend hours every week creating important documents, accounts, proposals and so on, but then fail to take back up copies of that data.

"An automatic cloud backup service will copy your files to a server on the internet, so you have a safe copy in case there’s ever a problem. The first thing I usually do when working with a new client is to ensure they have an effective system in place."

What other cloud computing tools can help people work more effectively?

"I recommend using a cloud-based email service, like Microsoft’s Exchange Online. You can use it to manage your emails, diary, tasks and notes.

"A service like this synchronises everything on all your devices – so you always see the very latest information on your main computer, your laptop, your smart phone – and your tablet computer, if you have one.

"You can also share tasks and your calendar appointments, so people can see when you’re available for meetings. And there’s no chance you’ll ever send two replies to an email, from different computers.

"It can be a good idea to store your files in the cloud too, because then you can access them from anywhere, as long as you have an internet connection. Documents, photos, spreadsheets … it’s incredibly helpful if you need to work from home, off-site or manage employees who are in different branches.

"You won’t lose this information if your laptop gets stolen either, because the data is stored on a remote server, kept in a secure location. And some cloud services can even record when your staff log in and out – perfect if you work flexi-time."

Are there any areas where you think the cloud will have an impact in future?

"Yes – cloud computing is going to mean fewer companies will need to have an in-house IT department.

"Businesses will certainly spend less on buying bulky hardware like network servers, and in turn that will reduce their energy bills. With less equipment to go wrong, they’ll probably be able to reduce how much they spend on outsourced IT support too"

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