The cloud solution is of great advantage to small businesses and self-employed professionals, as it allows for an IT solution that enables you to have proper storage and other facilities that can greatly help to reduce the costs of hardware for any stand-alone system.
Cloud service providers allow users to get all the advantage of the latest technology at lower costs and at reduced risk. There is almost no upfront investment, as the user of a cloud service does not have to invest in software or hardware other than a basic computer and network connections. There is no cost of ownership, licenses or renewals to be looked after. When you use the cloud, you are paying for what you use and do not have to worry about computer hardware and software maintenance and any redundant capacities. These service providers are constantly upgrading their software, hardware and other facilities, as they run it as a business that has to provide service. Users are also spared the problems of security and maintenance. A cloud service is often based offshore and will have a complete backup of all the data that they store, and at different locations so that any problems at any site does not disrupt operations.
Look for cloud service providers who will still arrange to store all your data even if you are delayed in the payment of bills. You must accept that they are then justified in denying you further access until the dues are settled, but may not have to worry about data already stored with them, though at times access may be denied. You must also be sure that you have the option of changing your cloud service and that the existing provider will faithfully migrate your data, in ways that are acceptable. Be clear as to the persons that are allowed access to any data that you store in the cloud, and this needs to be under your complete control. The service provider also needs to be able to guarantee security and integrity of all the data that is saved on their cloud. It can always help to know the physical locations where the service provider is storing your data and where it is being backed up. You must be assured that in case of breakdowns of servers due to technical reasons or power problems, you backed up data is almost immediately available so that your own operations are not affected in any way. It can help to know that your cloud service provider has sufficient sources of power, redundant storage, and networking so that operations at all their locations are never affected.
Cloud services are dependent on hardware, power and other equipment that may require scheduled maintenance that can interrupt operations. They must have a proper time and schedule that is informed to all its users well in advance and is for short periods of time that can be acceptable to them. They must have a proper protocol to communicate maintenance and outages, through e-mail, phones or other means.