When you mention the cloud, you immediately think of storage and file back-ups. However, the cloud is capable of much more and businesses are seeing this. Perhaps the most beneficial attribute is the low cost solutions to day to day task that the cloud offers. For new start-ups, this solution is taking the lead over conventional infrastructures and workstations. With so many uses, it only makes sense for new companies to see everything the cloud can do to give them a proper start. Cloud-Based Computing Replacing In-House Servers: In 2009, the average start-up cost for small businesses was $30,000. Many of these small business owners paid that out of their pockets. If cloud services were available then, many of these businesses could have seen some savings. The cloud is an option for small business owners to start their businesses virtually. With most of the workload to process information being handled by the cloud, businesses are able to use less expensive computers, eliminate the need for in-house servers, and utilize storage that is scalable. Unlike purchasing physical storage space and high end computer equipment, companies can use all the power of the cloud and virtualize their file management and many of their day to day tasks. As their business grows, their cloud services can grow with it, which reduces initial costs and allows companies to only pay for what they need. Eliminating In-House IT: If a company has servers and workstations, they have an IT guy or department. With cloud services so easy to setup and use, there is no need for retaining an IT service or department. Aside from the occasional computer problem, companies won't need technicians working on servers they don't have. Starting Green, Staying Green: Aside from the lower equipment costs, many businesses are taking the green initiative from the start. By creating a green business that is paperless and utilizing less energy for less equipment, small companies are seeing savings right away. The cost of office supplies, printer ink and toner, even paper clips and staples can add to an already hefty start-up cost. Eliminating the Physical Office: The latest trend in new business start-ups are virtual offices. With technology advancing, the need for employees to show up at the office each day can be eliminated. By using the cloud storage and cloud-based apps, employees can work from home or anywhere else there is an internet connection. The cloud allows for seamless project collaboration with instant file updates and document editing. The ability to work a multitude of platforms allows employees to choose the device they prefer and even get things done on the go with mobile devices. It is expected that even currently established companies will utilize virtual teams within the next couple of years. The cloud is more than storage and when businesses are starting up, there can be a real opportunity for savings. As more innovative uses for the cloud appear, we can expect to see more companies embracing this new standard of computing and more devices utilizing cloud services and offering savings to everyone. Jerry Mann is a business consultant who suggests companies learn more about how the cloud can help reduce current costs.