Cloud – Based Productivity Solutions for SMBs

Cloud computing solutions should be the natural option for small businesses. In a recent survey released by Spiceworks, 62% of the SMBs interviewed reported that they are using some type of cloud application. Most of them are using cloud services as tools for file-sharing, but haven’t moved into online productivity applications. According to the survey cloud-based productivity suites have the lowest adoption rate. Nearly two out of three businesses have no plans to use cloud-based productivity suites. Only 14% of those surveyed are currently using cloud-based productivity suites, and another 22% are thinking about adopting these services sometime in the future.

Especially for small businesses, the cloud environment brings the most valuable benefits. The physical infrastructure deployment and maintenance, the need for specialized IT staff and the expensive software updates are just some of the aspects small businesses would not worry about if they would switch to cloud-based applications. But let’s see what kinds of productivity tools are out there in the cloud for SMBs:

  • Online file storing and sharing tools. There are many options online now, which I discussed in my previous article: The Best Cloud Storage Solutions. The best cloud-based file storing and sharing tools are Dropbox, Microsoft SkyDrive and Box.
  • Team collaboration tools are able to track tasks assigned to different people,  and support projects milestones. Some of the most used team collaboration tools are Evernote, Teamly, and Basecamp.
  • Email is one of the first tools that went to the cloud. Cloud email services are easy to setup and use. Plus they give access to critical information anywhere, anytime. The most used webmail services are Gmail and Outlook.
  • Document collaboration tools allow employees to work together simultaneously on a particular document, spreadsheet or presentation. Google Drive, Office 365, and Zoho.

Cloud computing offers small businesses the great opportunities to reduce their costs, increase agility, and focus on their operations. Productivity applications such as email, documents, communication and collaboration are business-critical. Moving them to the cloud environment requires serious consideration of provider capabilities. A cloud computing vendor must provide reliable and secure services.

 Photo source: http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1271673

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6 Responses to “Cloud – Based Productivity Solutions for SMBs”

  1. Susan Bilder says:

    There are many pros to moving to the cloud. Accessibility is a big one. People are no longer just doing work during work hours or while they are at their work computer.

  2. Thank you for your comment, Suzanne!

  3. Brittany says:

    The best thing about cloud-based solutions is that SMBs can improve efficiency with remote connectivity. Ease of access and provision of a paperless office also helps small businesses to increase profits. Not only does collaboration process improves but it is easy to get feedback as well as assemble or sign documents on the go with such a solution at hand. But the most important aspect remains is that of security and its importance in business. One must consider it before switching to the cloud. For more information and help on security, read:

    http://cloudbasedwebapplicationsecurity.weebly.com/

  4. Security seems to be the number one concern when small businesses consider shifting their functions over to cloud computing. I think its the idea of sharing space containing sensitive information with so many unknown entities. A secure co-location provided by managed IT services is a good compromise between the low cost benefits of cloud computing and the security of a private server.

    What are some tips you can give to a business who is questioning moving over to cloud technologies because of a fear of security risk?

  5. I would recommend making cloud security a shared responsability. As I discussed in an article some time ago, to fight pre-implementation insecurity about cloud computing technology, organizations (large or small) must develop a strategic plan to evaluate applications, prioritize the security measures on business value, and create a risk profile. This assessment can allow cloud providers to offer advice and customized deployment to suit an organization’s security model. This seems to be the best way for cloud infrastructure providers to design their solutions to provide the visibility and transparency that organizations need. You can read the entire article here: http://www.rickscloud.com/make-cloud-security-a-shared-responsibility/

  6. luke Douglass says:

    The whole cloud security and management is still far from perfect and often when a employee leaves it shows the weakness found in any cloud deployment or solution. http://www.supportu.co.nz/is-cloud-based-software-good-for-you/

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