“The cloud serves companies of all sizes. The cloud is for everyone. The cloud is a democracy.”
—Marc Benioff, CEO, Salesforce
Small and mid-sized businesses (SMBs), including self-storage operators, are rapidly adopting cloud-based computing solutions. According to a 2017 article in “App Developer Magazine,” global adoption of software as a service (SaaS) increased from 62 percent to 79 percent in 2016. The acceleration is due to cloud-based service providers (CSPs) being able to use the cloud to deliver all their users’ required functions and add-ons.
The fundamental advantages of cloud computing are available to businesses of any size, and storage operators are recognizing the benefits. Here are some of the key rewards to making the transition to cloud-based services in 2018 and beyond:
- Simplicity: Cloud services are easy to manage because highly trained information-technology (IT) specialists handle all the details related to day-to-day maintenance and updates.
- Flexibility: Cloud-based solutions are more nimble than onsite computers with no pathway to centralization. Data is easier to access and retrieve because files are no longer stuck on a single, local computer.
- Efficiency: Cloud software is more efficient because updates are automatic and seamless. This convenience improves uptime and delivers an enhanced user experience.
- Mobility: Cloud services are accessible via the Internet from any mobile device, tablet or computer. Users on the go cite mobility as a key benefit to the cloud.
- Security: CSPs offer levels of data protection that exceed the capabilities of most small businesses, including cyber-security expertise, constant monitoring and frequent audits.
- Continuity: Cloud data is backed up off site, which means small businesses are protected against common local threats like lightning, flood, fire, theft and vandalism.
All business data is centralized in the cloud, which means small businesses can pursue a more data-driven approach to operation, replacing intuition with facts. Cloud solutions deliver business intelligence through analytical tools that use the power of centralized data to identify trends, manage devices and improve operation.
The self-storage industry will benefit from true cloud solutions that give operators of all sizes the tools they need to remotely view renter activity, access accounting and payment data, view onsite device health, manage inventory, update software/firmware, troubleshoot remotely, and even use predictive analytics to keep and upsell customers.
Multi-site operators will be able to use centralized data through executive dashboards and other reporting tools common to cloud software to compare the performance of their properties quickly and easily. Operators with single sites can take the same approach to identify opportunities, improve productivity and enhance the overall customer experience. Data can be accessed remotely, even from home or on weekends, which means problems can be resolved easier and faster with less time spent on the property.
Cloud software gets faster, more secure and more robust with each passing year. In 2018, cloud software will help the self-storage industry achieve operational excellence.
Stan Hosler is a content writer for PTI Security Systems, a provider of access-control and security technology to the self-storage industry. To contact the PTI team, call 480.418.5407; e-mail [email protected]; visit www.ptisecurity.com.