Cloud computing can be a real benefit for businesses today. This is especially true of small and medium-sized businesses that are trying to get the most out of the web without spending a fortune on their own on-site servers. The smaller companies will not have to worry about having a large infrastructure to support them, and the cloud will make accessing all parts of the business, from software to data, faster and easier. Security is not as much of a problem in the cloud as it was a few years ago either, so that is a plus.
When you start to look at some of the different cloud hosting solutions and options that are available, you can see just how beneficial they could be for your small business. Let’s examine some of the best solutions for businesses similar to yours.
Solution #1: Sage One
Sage One is a fantastic option for small businesses that need to track their time, their projects, and their expenses. It offers a simple to use interface that is intuitive and can help you to run many different aspects of your business. However, it does not work for some elements of your business, such as banking. Still, it is a good option to test.
Solution #2: Office Time
Small business owners need to know how to track their time and record it as billable hours if they want to have an accurate view of what they make. This is an area where many businesses, even the larger ones, tend to flounder a bit. This cloud hosted solution allows you to create invoices, record time, and generate reports. It’s easy to customize, and it will work on Mac and Windows machines. When you have accurate reports and you know how long it takes to complete different projects, it then becomes easier to charge the right amount.
Solution #3: Office 365
One of the top cloud hosted solutions that will benefit nearly any business, no matter your field, is Office 365. It is the premier solution for companies that need to have all of their familiar Office tools without the hassle of buying licenses and uploading to individual machines. This tiered offering can provide the programs you know and love, including Word, PowerPoint, and Excel. Updating happens automatically, which can relieve your IT department from some boring duties of going around to everyone’s computer and updating the software individually.
Solution #4: DocuSign Pro
One of the only real drawbacks to doing business online has been getting the all important signature. Using regular mail takes too long, and faxes do not always offer the clearest copies. It also happens to be a hassle. However, new technologies are helping to make it easier than ever to bring document signing online. The system has an audit trail, and it lets recipients know exactly what they have to do to sign digitally.
Solution #5: Salesforce.com
Customer relationship management is essential for most businesses, and working with a cloud hosted company such as Salesforce.com can help you stay on top of the issues you may face. They can help small businesses as well as large businesses and will help to make the marketing, sales, and customer service aspects of running the business much easier to handle. They can offer analytics, email marketing, real time data sharing, and more.
Solution #6: Dropbox
Businesses will find that Dropbox is a powerful and easy to use cloud hosted solution. It is possible to store files and data with Dropbox, and to create folders that will allow you to share content and work with others in your company, with clients, and more. When you upload files to the cloud, it will sync with other devices, meaning you can upload from your PC at work and then work on the files when you are at home. You can even use mobile apps to access your files. This makes sharing faster and easier than ever, and it ensures that everyone is working on the same page, literally.
Solution #7: Microsoft SkyDrive
Another option that’s similar to Dropbox is Microsoft SkyDrive. This will work with PC, Mac, iPhone, Android, and through the web. You can upload and store files in the cloud and access them through any of your devices. It is easy to use, and is customizable so that you can make it work the way you need across all of your devices. It will also back up its settings so you do not have to worry about losing them.
Solution #8: Adobe Creative Suite
Many companies will benefit from having the Adobe Creative Suite. Tools such as Photoshop, Illustrator, and Flash were expensive and cumbersome for businesses before. They could cost thousands per license, and your IT department would constantly have to update the programs on all of the computers running them just to make sure that everything was up to date. Cloud hosting changed that. The company offers the Creative Suite, a cloud version of their program, which works similarly to Office 365. It’s cheaper, easier, and overall a better solution for any company that needs to use Adobe products.
Solution #9: Gliffy
Gliffy does not always get the recognition it deserves, but it is a quality product that can make it easy for companies to create high quality diagrams at a very low cost. Making diagrams is fast and simple with the tool, which offers the ability to collaborate with others, a hallmark of the cloud. With this solution, you can create flowcharts, diagrams, floor plans, and much more. Even if you don’t create a large number of charts right now, consider looking into the option to see how it might be able to help you and your business.
Solution #10: Hightail
Hightail, which was once You Send It, is another online storage provider similar to Dropbox. With Hightail, you can store files and media in the cloud, and you can collaborate and share files with others. It is actually possible for users to send files as large and 10 GB from their device. They offer unlimited storage space, which makes them a very attractive option for many companies.
More Options Abound
The preceding list features just ten of the cloud hosting solutions that small businesses are using today. They are some of the best available right now, but you can be sure that more solutions are coming all the time. Whether you are looking for something to make the IT management easier in the company, or you are looking to better your CRM, finances, or productivity, programs in the cloud are the way to go.
Before you choose any type of cloud hosting service and product though, research the option thoroughly. Look at the pros and the cons, as well as the overall cost to make sure it is the right solution for your needs. Check some reviews, try the demo, and then make your final decision. Your small business deserves the best, so take the time to find it.