Is your SMB seeking greater productivity? Consider the cloud

In our strained economy, it’s essential for small business owners to be able to do more with less, while maximizing productivity as much as possible. The advent of cloud computing has ushered in a host of ways small and midsized businesses (SMBs) can maintain and even increase productivity among workers. Here are a few areas in which cloud computing can help: 

· Collaboration and communication – It can be challenging to build a team of employees that work seamlessly together, with trust, transparency and teamwork as the foundation. Add to that the need to invest in and maintain technologies that facilitate effective collaboration – and you’ve got an even bigger hurdle.

Fortunately, the cloud makes it easy for SMBs to provide workers with integrated, intuitive ways to collaborate and remain productive in the process. Cloud productivity solutions that combine programs employees use the most – e-mail, document creation, messaging, conferencing, etc. – deliver enterprise-class capabilities at prices smaller organizations can afford, such as Office 365, which starts at just $6 per user per month.

· Mobility – Cloud computing solutions are available anywhere employees have secure Internet connections helping keep workers productive in and out of the office. This bodes well for companies with field workers who work primarily from mobile devices as well as companies that wish to offer remote work opportunities.

According to a survey commissioned by Microsoft, many of the main reasons information workers at SMBs preferred to work remotely had to do with productivity – no commute, fewer distractions and the ability to complete unfinished work at home.

· Security – Remaining abreast of the latest security threats and measures for protection requires a significant amount of time and energy, especially for SMBs that lack trained in-house IT staff.

When leveraging cloud computing solutions, SMBs can reduce some of the stress that comes from trying to independently maintain rigorous security standards. A qualified cloud services vendor should be able to provide users with enterprise-class security protocols founded on an ongoing understanding of the latest threats and how to address them. Choosing a vendor with high standards when it comes to security will free workers up to focus more on adding value to the business, and also will reduce the risk of security breaches that inevitably hamper employee productivity.

While there’s no silver bullet for increased productivity in the workplace, certain technologies like cloud computing solutions can go a long way toward helping businesses operate more efficiently and see significant improvements in how employees spend their time.

Click here for a free guide to learn more about cloud computing and if it is right for your business. For more tips and information on how the cloud can boost productivity, follow me on Twitter (@Cindy_Bates) or follow Microsoft SMB on Twitter (@MicrosoftSMB) and Faceb