I know Cloud computing is one of the most hyped technology trends of 2010, and foor better or for worse, cloud-computing technology is going to stay, on the other hand Small Businesses Are Clueless About Cloud Computing, did you know the fact that seventy percent of Microsoft employees are doing something at least related to cloud computing; in a year or so, that figure will be ninety percent.. Although cloud computing is not without concerns about security, stability, and data ownership, at its best it allows businesses to unshackle day-to-day operations from the local datacenter. Cloud computing is helping to shape today’s truly mobile workforce.
So how can Cloud Computing help for small businesses, or even in that case a startup, for small businesses, cloud computing hits a particular sweet spot. With cloud services, small businesses reap the benefits of not having to deploy physical infrastructure like file and e-mail servers, storage systems or shrink-wrapped software. Plus, the “anywhere, anytime” availability of these solutions, means hassle-free collaboration between business partners and employees by simply using a browser. In fact, it’s not a stretch to say that aside from a locally installed desktop operating system and browser, a lot of today’s small business technology needs can be fulfilled almost completely with cloud-based offerings.
For those who are not aware of what Cloud Computing is Exactly?
Let’s take a quick look at what constitutes a true cloud-computing solution. Cloud-computing services require no software to purchase and install. This doesn’t include a Java plug-in or some other kind of lightweight applet required to use the service. Cloud-computing fees for businesses are typically subscription-based. The vendors usually charge you on a month-to-month or annual basis. The solutions we feature here are relatively affordable and follow the subscription model. Another feature of cloud computing is that it’s easily scalable. Many of these solutions can work for a business with five employees or 5,000. Cloud-based service is nimble because it grows as your business grows.
Let we look at the twelve of the top cloud-computing services for small businesses, in today market under various categories..
Cloud Computing for: Storage and Backup
Egnyte Hybrid Cloud Solution
Cost: ~$19.98 – $69.98 Direct
One of the most pertinent concerns for a business of any size is storage and backup. Especially backup because, face it, your live business data is only as good as your last successful backup of it. For online backup and storage, it doesn’t get much better for SMBs than Egnyte. Egnyte’s Hybrid Cloud Solution offers a “file server in the cloud” so there’s no need for a physical file server. Egnyte has inherent disaster recovery and backup. It’s also a great way to get remote access to your files. You can opt to use Egnyte’s Local Cloud on NAS which will synch files from your online file server to a local NAS (not all NAS devices are supported, though).
Cost: ~$4.99 – $49.00 Direct
Dropbox is a superbly implemented cloud-based automatic file-synchronization service that lets users share and store files online.
Cloud Computing for: Productivity
Of course, productivity is key for a successful business. Online office suite Google Docs is elegant, efficient and provides document collaboration. Plus it’s more compatible with Microsoft documents than other online services of its kind.
Cost: $50 per user per year Direct
If you want to integrate Google Docs into a collaborative workspace, complete with email and calendaring, Google Apps is the way to go.
Microsoft Office Live Small Business
Microsoft Office Live Small Business received an Editors’ Choice award, too. It gives SMBs the tools they need to conduct business online: 500 MB of storage, 1 year of domain registration, web-site building tools, business apps and more. It’s a powerful toolkit for small businesses on a budget.
Cloud Computing for: Finance and Accounting
Keeping financial records and accounting are a necessary evil of running a business. Outright.com is an online accounting service that fits light accounting needs, such as tracking income expenses and tax obligations.
Cost: $25 Direct, per month (1 user)
Bill.com smoothly automates small-business accounting by reducing the time and paperwork normally required for accounts payable, thus saving money.
Cloud Computing for: CRM
Cost: $65 to 250 Direct, per user per month
For dealing with customer accounts, Salesforce.com is a top-notch cloud-based CRM service. It provides a myriad of features like managing sales, marketing campaigns, and running reports.
Cloud Computing for: Communication
Cost: $0.00 – $75.00 Direct
Communications are vital. Save money on business trips and installed phone-system costs with Dimdim This affordable, feature-packed Web conferencing solution is clearly a labor of love for its developers, and it gets better with each version. It covers all of your web and videoconferencing needs–plus, it’s fun to use.
Skype continues to improve its VoIP quality. Skype’s new interface makes video calls a priority and is the most intuitive out there. The new, efficient Silk audio codec produces class-leading sound for video and voice, earning Skype our Editors’ Choice for video calling.
Cloud Computing for: IT Tools
Meraki WiFi Stumbler
Small businesses may not have the resources for an on-site IT staff. Meraki Wi-Fi Stumbler is an online wireless network analyzer that’s simple enough for anyone at your business to use. It provides information on nearby wireless access points, channels and signal strength allowing you to maximize your wireless networks efficiency.
Cost: $49.99 monthly; $299.00 yearly, Direct
LogMeIn Central is way to connect PCs via the Internet for tech support or for collaboration. It also gives a centralized snapshot of the health of PCs in your organization and it’s user-friendly enough for non-gurus.
Cloud Computing: Database
Cost: $250.00, Direct
Ultra-customizable, fast, and easy, Intuit’s QuickBase is the only business-class online database to come from a long-established vendor that a cautious company can trust. Editor’s Choice winner Quickbase, Intuit’s database can house any type of data from invoices to inventory. It’s fast, reliable, and has many native applications, so you can quickly get up and running.
I know this list may not cover all that you are aware of or currently using, comment them so others can have use with it.. Happy Week!!