ost businesses have either already heard of or are already using cloud computing. The term simply refers to storing and accessing data and applications over the internet instead of on your computer’s hard drive.  The cloud is giving small and midsize businesses (SMBs) a competitive edge in the fastest-growing commercial environment in history. A recent Deloitte study (commissioned by Google) found that cloud adoption is strongly correlated to speed of growth for SMBs. Those using cloud grew 26 percent faster and are 21 percent more profitable than their peers that did not. Here are five reasons cloud-based HR and payroll solutions provide businesses a clear advantage:

➊ Managing technology becomes someone else’s headache

Cloud computing allows you to always have access to the most current software version without having to download and install any software. You no longer need to experience expensive software purchases or costly, time-consuming upgrades. Leading solution providers also have mobile apps that enable employees to access and manage their information anytime, anywhere.

➋ Abiding by new HR and payroll rules and regulations is simplified

Payroll and HR processing is complicated because it’s governed by countless sets of regulations at different levels. In order to compensate your employees correctly, you need a cloud-based solution that automatically updates current information about the law and reduces the risk associated with processing your payroll.

➌ Security, security, security

Cloud computing means your HR and payroll data is private and secure. It’s not sitting on someone’s desk or in a filing cabinet where anyone can get their hands on it. Cloud vendors use data management best practices, and only those you authorize can access and see your data.

➍ HR and payroll becomes a more predictable expense

If your data and workflow are scattered across a variety of applications, you will experience mistakes and inconsistencies. With a cloud-based solution, you can ensure you’ll be more accurate. Every process — from payroll to time and attendance — will be handled reliably without worrying about having IT staff update software,  or ensuring you have enough space on your computer or servers. Cloud computing also means leading providers are able to offer you software-as-a-service with clearly defined subscription or processing fees.

➎ Going green

Cloud computing allows you to manage your HR and payroll with a minimal amount of paper. Today, the best solution providers eliminate paper-based processes and offer additional payment and pay statement options, including direct deposit and electronic self-service options for employees to view their statements online or via a mobile device.

Cloud computing is a winning proposition for business owners and entrepreneurs. It’s an easier, less expensive, and more secure way to manage your most expensive, but most important asset: your people.