Cloud based applications and services offer ideal online solutions for small businesses that want to improve productivity and efficiency. Last week we discussed some of the main advantages of using cloud based applications for business, such as cost, scalability, reliability, performance and security.
Small businesses can reap the benefits of not having to deploy physical infrastructure like file & email servers, network storage systems, or expensive software by making use of cloud based applications. Today we look at the top 4 small business services that cloud based applications can provide, as well as some of the available applications in the market that can be used for these services:
- Productivity Tools for Business:There are a large number of business productivity tools that are moving to a cloud based platform such as:
- Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software
- Office Applications: like notepad, spread sheets, and word processing applications
- Accounting, tax and payroll management software
- Online collaboration software: Multiple people can collaborate on projects from anywhere
Some of the available cloud based productivity tools include:
Quickbooks Online: Is the world’s most popular online accounting software, they have a range of packages available to suite your business needs whether small or large.
FreshBooks: Another lightweight online cloud accounting system for business.
Adobe Connect: this is the most customizable online conferencing option available. The service offers a number of ways to engage with co-workers and has mobile support as well.
(another cheaper option for online conferencing and business meetings is GoToMeeting).
- Communications:A cloud based telephone system is a great example of how cloud based technology can reduce costs, as well as simplify and improve existing business systems. Before cloud based communication, offices had to install expensive and complicated PBX hardware. A business makes use of PBX technology to manage phone calls and tasks like call routing, allowing more than one person to be reached from a single number, automated greetings, conference calling and forwarding a call to the first available staff in a department
With cloud based systems now business telephone solutions are more flexible, scalable, and reliable, they can also be set up over the internet in a matter of minutes. Now a small business or even a single businessman operating from home can have the same enterprise level functionality at a fraction of the cost.
The following services provide cost-effective cloud based telecommunications:
- File Sharing & File Storage:For most businesses it is very important to be able to rapidly share information, data, media and files to employees and clients in different locations. Cloud based storage systems can make file sharing very simple, it’s just as easy as dragging and dropping the file to a shared folder which instantly synchronizes with a secure online shared folder. It can also be used to store offsite backups; in the event of data loss you’ll have backups of all your original files so you can restore them with minimal downtime. Cloud storage services can also be more secure as data is encrypted both during transmission and while it is at rest which prevents unauthorized access.
So next time you forget that important file on your office computer or have the need to send a client a file immediately a cloud storage solution like one of the following can help provide the best solution:
MyPCBackup: offers complete PC data backup and storage features.
BDrive: this is for those who want a more secure private storage cloud rather than using a public cloud storage (like dropbox). With BDrive you can create a virtual network drive and features both file access and synchronization across multiple devices. It can be used to mount a number of drives which can be configured for different users with unique passwords.
- Web Hosting:One very good use for the cloud is web hosting services and content delivery networks. Cloud based web hosting is a much better solution than traditional methods because it is designed to scale rabidly as per business requirements and can also be monitored and upgraded easily. Varying traffic loads can be managed better with a cloud hosting service rather than a traditional in-house server as it is possible to request a temporary upgrade from the service provider. This is better than purchasing an expensive large server to cater to potential traffic spikes, instead you pay for what you use.