Cloud computing is maybe a rather unfortunate description for a trend that has been slowly but surely creeping up on us now for years. Whenever you mention the term to the average layman you are met with a blank stare, but when you explain the basic concept they do seem to be quite familiar with the idea. After all, some of us have been using cloud computing for our personal e-mail requirements for a decade or more at this point.

Let’s look at it this way. In very simplistic terms it’s like renting somebody else’s capacity and facility to handle your business, allowing you to free up a lot of your resources, time and money for other purposes. As such, it’s certainly ideal for anyone considering self-employment, or for anyone whose business is somewhat top-heavy when it comes to administration.

In the world of the virtual assistant, cloud computing is a godsend. It enables collaboration like never before and the VA can be even more productive, allowing the entrepreneur to delegate or outsource using a variety of different applications and software solutions hosted “in the cloud”.

We may find that cloud computing turns out to be one of the most positive developments for small businesses in many generations. Just think what you had to do to establish a small business before cloud computing became a feasible alternative. You often had to invest in large upfront expenditure in terms of hardware capacity and software licenses. You often had to engage highly skilled technicians and IT personnel to set up your configuration and/or to train the people who would be working for you, if not yourself.

The advent of cloud computing is perfectly timed when you look at the general trend in downsizing personal and laptop computers. One of the innovators in this field – Google – is suggesting a personal computer that is effectively just a machine that connects to the Internet. They reason that such a computer does not need any significant storage capacity per se as you will be able to conduct all of your business through the cloud.

As time goes by more and more applications become available in the cloud. You will probably find that any particular software application that you use for your business operation can integrate with an equivalent App in the cloud. You can count on a variety of different software Apps pieced together to perform any kind of automatic process that you need to run your business.

As cloud computing becomes more a part of everyday life we are seeing a consolidation among the top providers, continued investment in infrastructure and very high performance. Whilst security of data may at one time have been something of a question, now it’s almost taken for granted and there isnít much of a risk of downtime in realistic terms.

Virtual assistants can and should be entirely at ease and at one with the concept of cloud computing and able to coordinate any and all initiatives for the small business owner.

Do you utilise cloud computing in your business? If so I’d love to hear your comments.

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