"The cloud" is quickly becoming a buzzword that's making its way around virtually every corporate boardroom as a strategy for minimizing costs. A variety of important functions can be shifted to the cloud, ranging from data storage to sales, and it brings a lot of crucial benefits to the table.

However, many business owners are asking themselves, "Is the cloud a safe place to keep sensitive information?" In terms of sales, this could mean personal data about customers, financial figures and employee compensation numbers. After all, this data could be compromised by a resilient computer hacker or accessed by nosey employees who shouldn't have permission to view the information.

This concern is largely moot, according to Microsoft's recent survey of companies that use the cloud as part of their business operations. Approximately one-third of respondents (35 percent) said their companies are actually more secure since moving to the cloud. Meanwhile, 32 percent spent less time managing security each week after they transferred services to the cloud and were five times as likely to have reduced the security portions of their IT budgets.

Switching to the cloud can have other notable impacts on business, particularly in regard to sales and growth.

"Survey results indicate that among SMBs that use the cloud, 41 percent were able to employ more staff in roles that directly benefit sales or business growth, 39 percent invested in more product development or innovation and 37 percent experienced improved agility and competitiveness," MSPmentor added, citing the report.

Additionally, the cloud enabled half of respondents (52 percent) to add new products and services that provided added values and benefits in a quick and secure fashion.

Perhaps the biggest advantage to cloud computing is the benefit it provides in terms of scalability. With the recession drawing to an end and many companies eyeballing expansion, the cloud is a tool that is ideal for these scenarios. Businesses can ramp up the data stored in the cloud with little impact, which makes it perfect for companies of any size. In fact, 42 percent of respondents to the Microsoft survey highlighted scalability as a top perk of the cloud.