Comcast leaders are investing in the growing industry of cloud computing technology, and they are offering services that might benefit small- and medium-sized businesses.

Cloud computing involves hosting, managing and maintaining computer networks via virtual server; and the industry grew to $45 billion worldwide last year, according to hosting and cloud services company Parallels.

About $6 billion of that came from small- and medium-sized businesses entering the market for the first time.

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Parallels also found that small- and medium-sized businesses are the fastest-growing segment for cloud services.

Examiner.com reported that the cloud technology industry is expected to grow to $107 billion in 2017.

Locally, Track 29 officials use cloud toolsthat allow business leaders to manage data and documents, owner Adam Kinsey said via Twitter.

Officials with the local music venue also use Google Calendar and employee scheduling software When I Work, both ofwhich are accessible from the cloud.

Kinsey said that one of the benefits of cloud tools such as these is their cost, which can be less expensive than software or hardware. He also noted the constant, secure backup; mobility; and controlled access as advantages.

Jim Weigert, local Comcast vice president and general manager,said that the cloud services that Comcast offers are a way to give consumers what they want.

Comcast’s VoiceEdge service offers a cloud-based communication solution with universal features and constant connectivity, he said.

Customers can use their computers to make phone calls, reroute calls in the event of an emergency or forward calls to a desk phone from anywhere in the world.

For a small company, every call might be important and might mean a gain or loss of business, he said.

The tool may help small startups appear bigger than they are, which can be helpful at the beginning phase of a business launch, he also said.

Comcast also recently launched Upware, which is an online marketplace ofbusiness-grade cloud solutions.

“From security and collaboration to data backup, Upware lets Comcast business customers choose from a carefully selected suite of hosted services and applications and manage all of those applications with one login and customer support contact,”Weigert said.

Box, which Track 29 uses, is one of the services in the online marketplace.

Consumers can read feedback about the different offerings in the marketplace; and with some of the small business packages, Comcast gives consumers tools such as Norton Internet Security Online and Microsoft Exchange, which has Microsoft Outlook email, for free.

“We are in the business-both from a residential standpoint and from a business standpoint-to make sure we’re providing products and services that our customers need,” he said.

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