While it is true that technology can help your business thrive, it can also hurt it if you are unable to keep up with its new advances. This is especially true when you are just setting out in the business world. The last decade has seen a marked increase of Cloud-based services, and many startups use the Cloud to deliver what they have to offer.
The Cloud is easier to use and also much cheaper for clients and startups alike. Rather than spending a lot of money on buying and updating the hardware and software needed for their businesses or paying other personnel to do it, it’s considerably less expensive to run your service on a Cloud platform. All the data is centralized and stored in one place, giving you instant online access to services and resources at a lower cost.
Often a new business will have its own service providers (i.e., third parties) that offer the startup the logistics needed to run its business smoothly. The services that can be offered through Cloud computing include infrastructure as a service, platform as a service, and software as a service (apps and databases). If you are a startup offering your clients software as a Cloud-based service, you yourself will need to acquire the following services from third parties:
- Infrastructure services: physical or virtual computers, file storage, IP addresses, firewalls
- Platform services: including an operating system, a database, a web server
As far as customers are concerned, any startup wishing to deliver its services through a Cloud should take into account several factors, like:
- How much will the service cost?
- Does the client really need this service?
- Can the customer accept the startup’s terms?
- How risky are they to the client?
- What rights will the customer still have on their own data once they agree to these terms and conditions?
- Since the customer’s personal details and other data are stored on the service provider’s server, who else can access the data?
- How can the client be assured that the service provider will not access, share or delete their data?
- How will the data be protected?
Despite privacy concerns, the growing popularity of Cloud services lies not only in the very limited responsibility customers have over the service (a software, for instance), but also in the services' considerably reduced costs. The customer does not have to purchase the software, but instead they pay per use, considerably reducing costs. It is more convenient as well, since the user does not have to download the application on their personal computer, and they get all updates without having to install them. The startup, as the software provider, is the one paying for updating and maintaining the service.
Remember, any startup needs a business plan to attract both clients and investors. Once you’ve achieved that, try to offer your clients the same quality service and security standards you get from third parties.
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