Cloud for SMBs

POSTED BY on Jun 11 under Uncategorized

I have heard feedback from readers that my previous post sounded like I was discouraging businesses from going to the cloud. I want to clarify that it was not my intention to dissuade companies from going to the cloud but merely intended to give the raw facts and where could SMBs burn their fingers trying out such unfamiliar territory. That being said, I have listed a bunch of applications that SMBs could benefit from by going to the cloud.

1. Google Apps including Google email and Google Docs are offerings from Google cloud kingdom. Google Apps is a business-class version of Google Docs and includes apps such as eMail, Calendar, and Documents (for word processing, spreadsheet, presentations and forms) and with cool, easy to use administration capabilities.

One advantage of the cloud is that your data remains in one place no matter where you access it from. Google makes it even more easier by providing great tools to access your data anytime as long as you have access to the internet. Now, its great that I keep all my stuff on Google but how safe is it? Google’s cloud tools are actually more secure on the whole because, although you are trusting your data to an external provider, it works hard to secure your data. No one is immune to hackers but Google pays a lot of close attention to such things and it’s the sort of attention to detail that you probably don’t have time or money for in your local one man IT department.

2. Box.net (the last I looked it was free for 1GB of storage; $10 for an individual plan; $15 monthly for three or more users) is an online workspace service for file sharing and collaboration. In my opinion, Box’s tools are incredibly easy to use and very powerful for someone who is always on the go especially if you’re working with a virtual team that requires a lot of coordination.

3. QuickBooks Online ($10 to $35 per month), unlike QuickBooks installed on PCs, makes collaboration easy across a small team. It enables bookkeepers, accountants and outsourced finance teams to all look at the same up-to-date information to advise on your financial health.

4. Google Voice (free) is a chat and voip application from Google that allows you to make free calls everywhere within the USA and Canada. Google Voice used to be known as GrandCentral before Google bought the company in July 2007. New users get a free new number, hopefully somewhere near their local area. I have personally tried this and the call quality if impeccable.

I will try to add more apps as I come across to help our clients and other SMBs.

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