Small businesses around the world are migrating to cloud computing environments for a number of reasons, including the desire to access fax and other applications from virtually anywhere in the world.

If organizations want to get the most out of the cloud, decision-makers need to assess specific business needs before beginning the implementation, according to an InfoWorld report. Planning ahead can help a business better analyze and benchmark the costs and functional benefits of a move to the cloud.

Rather than migrating to the cloud and then making adjustments after it is deployed, decision-makers should ensure that any IT resource can be at least 90 percent productive after its move to the cloud, InfoWorld noted. For example, one of the efficiencies an online fax cloud service delivers is the ability to send and receive faxes, even when a physical fax machine is not available.

Free faxing apps, including those for both smartphones and Apple's iPad, let users now send and receive faxes directly from or to the device. Some apps even let you sign documents -- such as a contract -- with a finger.

The number of small companies using the cloud over the next three years will triple, according to a recent Microsoft report. These organizations will need to be smart about the migration to the cloud, as poor planning can result in ineffective deployments.