If you feel like your understanding of cloud computing, and how it can help your business, is a little hazy — you’re not alone.

In fact, according to a study from Wakefield Research, 54 percent of Americans claim to never use cloud computing, while in actuality 97 percent of these people are already using cloud services for things like online shopping, banking, social networking, and file sharing.

Even though many of us use cloud services every day, there’s a lot of confusion about what the cloud really means.

Today, we’ll walk you through the top five reasons small businesses are finding success with the Cloud.

1. Flexibility

As a small business owner, it’s likely that you value two things very highly — your work and your freedom. Cloud computing fits right in with these priorities by giving you access to your business’s information from anywhere, on any device.

Rather than storing everything on a singular laptop, desktop, or external hard drive, the Cloud works anywhere you have an Internet connection.

The Cloud also gives you the flexibility to make updates to files while on the go, using your mobile device.

2. Efficiency

The Cloud will increase your productivity because you can get work done when and where it’s convenient for you.

You’ll also have a much greater ability to collaborate. Using the Cloud, you can share documents with co-workers, members, or clients to ensure you’re all working from the same version of a document.

That way, multiple members of your team can simultaneously work together on the same document from different devices.

3. Cost

Finding a way to cut costs without cutting quality can be a big challenge.  When you’re using the Cloud, you immediately eliminate the need for expensive on-site hardware, like servers.

Research some of the cloud service providers to see which one will be a good fit for your business. There are rarely any upfront costs — instead you’ll pay a flat rate monthly or annual fee to a service provider of your choice.

Cloud-based solutions are often comparable or, in some cases, less expensive than equivalent on site options. Once you merge your data onto the Cloud, you won’t have any additional IT costs to worry about. Everything will be stored and managed through your provider.

4. Security

If you’re storing all your business data on a personal laptop, how safe is your information? Laptops can get stolen, viruses can damage files, and your business’s or customers’ data could be compromised.

Rather than trying to stay on top of all the potential cyber threats out there, cloud services are dedicated to ensuring your information is safe and secure.

While you have many other priorities to keep your business running, data security is one of the chief concerns of cloud-based services. You’ll save yourself from worry so you can focus on running your business.

5. Extendibility

Many different services and features are compatible with each other in the Cloud.

Within Constant Contact for example, our Join My Mailing List app allows people to sign up for a mailing list on Facebook, and will then automatically add that person’s contact information to a Constant Contact email list.

This integration allows you to grow your list in multiple places, while still keeping personal information safe and secure in one easy-to-access place.

It’s safe to say the Cloud isn’t going to blow over any time soon.

Hopefully now you can see there are real benefits to using cloud computing at your small business.Cloud Microsoft webinar