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Small businesses, more than most other types of business are vulnerable to changes in the business environment. A seemingly minor event can make things very difficult for a small business. A major client pulling out or an expensive piece of equipment needing to be replaced can push a small business to the edge.

For the small businesses that not only survive but thrive, success is all about making smart choices and implementing efficient solutions. One area that represents a challenge for small businesses is that of IT support.

Every small business will benefit substantially in one way or another with the use of technology. Few companies would survive in the modern business world without email and web technology. Beyond standard communication there are a host of computer applications and peripherals that can make businesses more efficient and more effective.

One of these is cloud technology. Cloud technology can have a number of benefits for small businesses, making them more streamlined, more effective and more able to accommodate strain.

Big Red Cloud’s online accounting software is one such cloud based technology that has the potential to transform how small businesses operate. In terms of IT support, cloud products and services can create substantial savings for companies, particularly smaller businesses.

How Does the Cloud Save on IT?

Probably the biggest area of expenditure in IT for small companies is ongoing maintenance. Keeping software up to date, free from bugs and conflicting with hardware can require constant monitoring and frequently requires IT services to resolve.

With programmes that are accessed from the cloud all of the software maintenance is carried out by the service provider. The software operates from machines run by the service provider meaning they are responsible for the maintenance of the software as well as the hardware.

For the end user all that is required is a machine that can run a web browser. This not only reduces maintenance requirements but also cost in terms of outlay for computers and the software.

Software as a Service

A significant expenditure for small businesses can be the outlay required for installed software. Often these platforms are relatively niche and in order to recoup their investment software developers have to charge a large fee for each computer the software is installed on.

Where the software is accessed remotely the service provider can offer the software as a service rather than a standalone product. This means the cost can be recouped over time and customers can be offered a much lower entry price in the form of an ongoing subscription fee.

Most small businesses will find this far more manageable than a large upfront outlay and resources saved can be invested in other areas that will strengthen the business.

The subscriber only has to ensure they have a working machine to access the cloud accounting software. This means that should a machine break down it does not need to be repaired or replaced before the software can be accessed again.

A secondary machine can be used until such time that repairing or replacing the machine can be carried out without putting undue strain on the company’s resources.

More Users

For a small business including additional users in an installed system could often be prohibitively expensive even where reductions were made for subsequent users. For most cloud based services this is not the case and for Big Red Cloud’s online accounting solution all users including small businesses can have unlimited user access for free.

Related: What can cloud do for your business?

Marc O'Dwyer

After completing a Graduate program in Marketing, Marc’s impressive sales career began at Allied Irish Banks, Pitney Bowes and Panasonic where he received numerous Irish and European sales performance awards and consistently exceeded targets and expectations. In 1992, Marc’s entrepreneurial spirit led him to set up his own business, Irish International Sales (IIS). Initially, this company was a reseller for Take 5 Accounts and Payroll software. Within four years, IIS became the largest reseller of Take 5 in Ireland, acquiring four other Take 5 resellers. He also found time to set up two mobile phone shops under the Cellular World brand and a web design company offering website design services for small businesses. In 2001, he bought the majority share in a small Irish software business, Big Red Book. At that time, the company was losing money. The company became profitable within two months, and Marc then acquired a payroll company to compliment Big Red Books Accounting products. In 2003, IIS were appointed as Channel Partners with SAP for their new SME product, SAP Business One. Marc sold his Take 5 business and concentrated on developing this new market for SAP As a result, by 2007, IIS was recognised as the largest Channel Partner for SAP in EMEA (Europe Middle East and Africa). In 2008, the IIS Sales Manager bought the Company from Marc in an MBO. He launched Big red cloud in June 2012, the online version of big red book, to date the company successfully converts 59% of trials into sales and the number of customers is growing rapidly. Marc continues to run both Big Red Book and Big Red Cloud which now support 75,000 businesses. He is a very keen sportsman, having played rugby for 20 years, represented Leinster at under 16 and under 20 levels, and league squash with Fitzwilliam Lawn Tennis Club for 10 years. Marc has competed in 11 Marathons, including the London and Boston Marathons, and has completed several Triathlons and Half Ironman races. He has also completed six Ironman Races in Austria(x2), Frankfurt (Germany), Nice (France) , Mallorca (Spain) and Copenhagen (Denmark)

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