For small businesses cloud computing is possibly the most important development in the computing world for many years. Offering complete freedom, flexibility and creating new opportunities previously only the preserve of much larger firms, cloud computing services are available to suit a whole range of industries.
Whatever your business and whatever its size, it could be time to get your head in the clouds. Here are some essential tools that will be of use to nearly all businesses.
Five of the Best
1. Log Me In
Log Me In: There’s a very distinct clue in the name with the services on offer from Log Me In which offers a range of remote access applications. The basic, free, Log Me In service allows you to access your computer desktop remotely from any location with an internet connection. This type of application can suit businesses of any size; creating opportunities for your staff to work from home or at other remote locations. This ultimately can save on office costs and is ideal for those businesses that need to be out and about in order to earn. For single staffed companies having access to a computer’s files from any location should have obvious benefits.
Dropbox has been established for some time now; it’s basically a file sharing facility and document storage application. Via an internet connection you can deposit your files and documents in secure storage and you, or co-workers, have access remotely. This allows for documents to be amended when and where needed and it also means you’ll always have the latest version to hand.
iCloud is the recently launched cloud service from Apple. Users are able to store data online which is then available on multiple devices; data includes music, calendars and the iCloud effectively creates an automatic back up for whichever documents you choose to store. The access options with the service mean that your documents can be downloaded to most common devices; which means your essential business documents can be easily retrieved on the go, from your phone or laptop. Changes to documents are synced, ensuring up to date information for all users.
4. QuickBooks Online Accounting
QuickBooks Online Accounting is one cloud computing service that will be considered essential by most small businesses. Accounting is one part of running your own business that many smaller firms are not exactly experts at. Accounting software whether online or offline is a sensible investment, but the cloud version can streamline your record keeping even more. Allowing you to update records or produce invoices wherever you are, it can save time on late night visits to the office and your accountant can also have instant online access to your financial records – saving them time and money for you.
5. Amazon Web Services
Amazon Web Services offer a flexible cloud solution that can suit even the smallest business; one of the few pay-as-you-go services available for cloud computing you simply pay for what you use. The services available include a full, comprehensive range of back up, storage and disaster recovery solutions. Whatever scale of cloud computing service you need, most businesses will be able to find a solution at an affordable price through Amazon’s offering.
There are a whole range of additional services and applications available through the cloud. For many businesses some will be more important than others, but with the basics in place, you’re good to go.
About the Author: Simon Wilson is online entrepreneur who blogs about small business issues and advice, covering everything from online invoicing to how businesses can use social media. When he’s not online Simon enjoys swimming, cycling and visiting museums.