Why cloud computing? Because it’s the best thing for small business since the creation of the stapler. Cloud computing can give you access to your business data and applications from anywhere at anytime from any mobile device, at a reasonable price. The cloud gives small businesses access to technologies that previously were out of their reach and lets them compete with both other small businesses and larger ones.

Many traditional desktop applications are disappearing, for example, many accounting software vendors no longer have desktop software offerings – they have moved their products to the cloud and offer inexpensive, online subscription-based services that are ideal for small businesses.

Here are top ways cloud computing can help you save a lot of money:

1. You no longer have to pay for people

With cloud computing, we’ve said goodbye to the era of paying people to do things such as install and update software, install and manage email servers and/or file servers, run backups – the beauty of cloud computing is that all of the business of maintaining the service or application is the responsibility of the cloud vendor, not yours.

2. You no longer have to buy software

Besides the convenience of not having to buy software programs and install them on your own servers/computers, using cloud applications instead can be cheaper.

3. You can integrate separate needs into one multi-application cloud computing service

For instance, Google Apps for Business includes email, a calendar scheduling application, Google Docs for creating documents, presentations and forms and using online file storage and Google Sites for creating websites, all for only $5/month for each person on your account.

Even Microsoft’s traditional office application suite, which used to be only available in desktop versions costing hundreds of dollars, is now available in a cloud-based version known as Office 365. It is sold by annual subscription and also includes online video conferencing, Skype and instant messaging connectivity, and many other features.

4. You may be able to cut back on system hardware

File storage, data backup and software programs all take up a lot of space on servers/computers. With cloud computing, you use someone else’s servers to store all this data instead, freeing up your in-house computer equipment for other purposes or even letting you get rid of some of it.

5. Allows you and your employees easy access to applications and data from different computers and devices

Since cloud applications are browser-based they are accessible from mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones. For example, cloud-based accounting applications come with Android or Apple compatible mobile applications that allow you to access your accounting data from any mobile device and send invoices, track expenses, on the run.

6. Cloud computing lets you start up or grow your small business quickly

It’s a lot easier and faster to sign up for a cloud computing application than to buy a server, get it up and running and install software on it. And because you don’t need to buy hardware and software, your start up or expansion is cheaper, too.