INSIGHT: Xero throws down cloud gauntlet to NZ SMBs

Victoria Crone, Managing Director, Xero New Zealand believes it’s time for small businesses to stop making excuses and give cloud technology a chance.

Everyone is talking about the joys of the Cloud these days, and as a leader of an organisation that’s built its business in the cloud, I am certainly no exception.

But if you speak to anyone in our offices, they’ll tell you we sell ‘time’ not cloud accounting software.

That’s because one of the many benefits of using cloud technology is that it enables access to data and services anywhere with an internet connection and across devices.

This means greater flexibility in when and where work can be done, all without the burden or cost of managing complex IT systems – in short saving users time.

In practice, the ability to access online accounts in real-time and on-the-go can be a real game-changer for small businesses when it comes to gaining a competitive advantage.

So it may come as a surprise to learn that many small business owners remain sceptical about the cloud – citing concerns around security, reliability, data ownership and even that the cloud might just be a fad.

Cloud-based software and services can be a fantastic solution for many small businesses and in my opinion it’s time for small businesses to stop making excuses and give cloud technology a chance.

Here are some reasons why:

Cloud myth #1: The cloud isn’t secure

People often share concerns around the security of keeping business data in the cloud. The truth is however, that your data is often more safe in the cloud than on a local server.

This is because the majority of cloud providers employ enterprise-level security systems that go well beyond what the typical small business can provide.

It’s in their best interest to keep your data secure, so you can rely on 24/7 support from dedicated teams of security experts, and rest easy with ongoing software and hardware update support.

I often hear small business owners say that data security is not a priority they can afford, but in the event of a natural disaster or fire, having your data in the cloud means productivity doesn’t need to be affected.

With all your information securely stored off-site – you’re back up and running as soon as you have access to the internet.

Cloud myth #2: I won’t have control over my data

Working in the cloud can actually allow for stronger control over your business data. Not only is it available wherever you are, but you can directly regulate who gets to see it, and what they get to see.

The majority of cloud providers clearly understand a business’ need to maintain ownership of their intellectual property – and wouldn’t jeopardise this.

As with any business service, making sure you read the terms and conditions through in full before signing up to anything should be standard procedure and in this case, you should pay close attention to clauses about intellectual property, proprietary data, file ownership and confidentiality.

You can also make provisions to ensure data sovereignty, so that your data is kept within New Zealand and not stored offshore.

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