We’ve long hailed the benefits of going paperless as a way to decrease your company’s carbon footprint. In addition to using less paper (requiring less deforestation), it saves your company money. Obviously you won’t need to buy paper anymore. Beyond that expense you’ll also save money on not buying printers, copiers, fax machines (and fax lines) and a boatload of toner. You’ll have to pay for fewer repairs. Really, going paperless is one of the best things to do for your company.
It’s a trend that is catching on, too. According to the Motley Fool, HP (the mothership of printing) saw its printing revenue drop by more than 3% last year. At the same time, PEW Research reports that tablet ownership jumped from 3% of the population in 2010 to 34% by May 2013.
It’s important to note, though, that when your office does go paperless you will have to find someplace to store your files. Some companies set up elaborate internal servers on site. These servers are easier to secure and company owners can control access to which employees can access certain files. Still, on-site servers don’t actually help your company reduce your carbon footprint. In fact, you find yourself with a bigger carbon footprint than the one you started with.
This is why cloud computing has become so important in today’s landscape. Cloud computing is a big and kind of scary sounding term for something with which you are undoubtedly already familiar. If you’re still confused by the term, Mashable has an excellent explanation of what cloud computing is here.
It’s true that cloud computing is not without its problems. The Departments of Defense and Veteran Affairs spent more than a billion dollars trying to make veterans’ records paperless and cloud based. If even the DoD has a hard time guaranteeing security to veterans how can you be expected to trust cloud computing for your own ventures?
1. Your contracts and records are unlikely to be as complex or tied up in red tape as those at the DoD so you’re unlikely to have to worry about federal privacy issues.
2. Small business cloud computing has come quite a long way over the last few years thanks in part to companies like DevFactory taking steps to improve their security and reliability.
It’s natural to be wary of cloud computing, especially since it is still relatively new and there are a few kinks that need to be worked out, but consider the following:
1. Cloud computing allows your company to reduce its carbon footprint by quite a lot.
2. Cloud computing is a more cost effective and environmentally friendly way of storing your company’s files than setting up an internal server system.
3. Cloud computing allows your employees to work remotely, which means you can hire people from anywhere and allow them to work everywhere (teleconferencing tools are also a big help here).
4. Cloud computing allows you to access your files no matter where or what technology you are using. This means you don’t have to worry about forgetting important files or documents or showing up with the wrong slides for a presentation.
So, really: what are you waiting for? Embrace the cloud and green up your office!