There are a number of cloud collaboration apps available that can help businesses centralize everything from file and calendar sharing to project and customer relationship management. Scroll down to learn about the best cloud-based software for your office:
The endless debate goes on whether “The Cloud” is really safe or not. Millions of users already in the cloud can attest to the scope of data and financial losses incurred because of incompetent and inefficient cloud-base storage facilities. Therefore, a better question to ask would be: “What can you do to ensure your data storage in the cloud?” Consequently, the answer to that question is that it all depends on the company and the precautions they take.
Tips When Looking for Cloud-Based Software for the Office
Select Your Cloud Storage Facility Carefully
Most online storage companies do indeed backup your data. Reading through online reviews of the experiences encountered by others will help you find companies taking responsibility in safeguarding stored data. Nevertheless, don’t think that tech support necessarily knows the answers to the following questions, nor that they are inclined to do answer them:
- Do they have storage facility emergency backup systems–perhaps at another geographical site?
- Are there multiple copies of your data in the case of a single disk or server failure?
- Do they really rely on battery backup systems or is their system still subject to power outage failures just like everyone else?
Have a Trial Run
One rule-of-thumb practice is to take advantage of trial-run opportunities offered by many companies. Whether it’s a web host, an ISP or a cloud storage facility, let them backup their claims to security/functionality by showing you what they can do on a consistent basis. Then, you’ll better decide if the service is worth paying.
Especially prove their technical support apparatus. Are they really there when you need them, and what is their response time?
Simply put, any password can be hacked into. More than likely, hackers are after more complex things to attack, but they often choose a cloud storage facility that’s slack with guarding against password vulnerability. Multiply this fact with your own negligence in regular password changes, and there is no virtual security provided.
Never give out your password to anyone, even tech support. Ideally, a secured, cloud-based storage company’s technical support only asks for minimal information. Moreover, a more secured system typically has a series of security questions and their answers initially set by you when you open an account with the system. Hint: Never keep a list of other vital passwords on the cloud–it’s not a good thing.
If hackers can breach a password protocol, then they can also capture your important data while en route to the cloud’s server. That being said, most storage facilities have their own encryption safeguards in place.
Look for “https” instead of “http” in the URL address bar when you go to the cloud site–or any site for that matter. The “s” is one definite safety measure that shows the web site is a legitimate one and not a set-up “phishing” site.
If you keep financial details, health-related data and/or legal documents, then all of these should be guarded by some form of encryption. Today, there are numerous encryption apps available for sale, but get one that allows you to manage the strings of data required for encryption/decryption.
Consequently, being certain to always keep your data backed up offline, on an external storage device, may continue being the smartest, most cost-effective way to safely protect your data from possible loss–cloud or no cloud.
5 Pieces of Collaborative Cloud-Based Software for the Office
In the past, companies generally had to rely on a dedicated office server in order to allow employees to share files and collaborate with each other. This has changed significantly in recent years as cloud-based collaboration software has made significant progress in making it easy for work teams to carry out their business functions from anywhere in the world.
Basecamp is a widely used project management tool that makes it simple to keep everything on track and produce deliverables on time. Users are able to collaborate on text documents in addition to sharing files and calendars. It also features project web pages that all appropriate personnel have access to. With this, both employees and management can keep focused on the tasks at hand without having to deal with cluttered inboxes and disjointed communication.
Bitrix24 is a cloud-based service that provides private intranets for companies. It comes with a wide range of features that include a CRM system, VoIP connectivity directly from the app and project and permissions management. In addition, each user gets access to a private news feed that can help managers keep people up to date on everything they need to know about what is going on. The service is free for companies that have twelve users or less, and this can make it an ideal solution for smaller businesses.
Dropbox for Business
While many people use Dropbox at home to keep their files backed up to the cloud and share things with others, it can also be used for office collaboration. All a company needs to do is install Dropbox for Business on employees’ work computers, and everything will automatically be synchronized when people save files to a Dropbox folder. If companies are worried about security with Dropbox, there are both open source and paid alternatives that can be hosted on a private server.
Google Apps for Business
Having been in service for almost a decade, Google Apps for Business is one of the most mature and easy to use cloud-based office collaboration app suites available. It comes with straightforward pricing and allows businesses access to everything that Google Apps has to offer. Documents can be stored on a connected Google Drive, and companies can create their own private calendars for office use. In addition, it can be branded with a company logo and provides an easy way to integrate cloud-based collaboration software with the office applications that businesses already use.
Evernote Business allows users to save things that they believe will be useful in the future and create a wiki-like information repository for companies. All that people need to do is save things like web pages and PDF files to the Evernote account and add relevant tags. With this, other users in the office will be able to access saved information quickly without the need to search online or spend time going through the office file system.