Cloud services are a boon for small businesses, cutting the overhead on file storage, accounting, and ecommerce software. Storing data on the go is essential for many small business owner, who might need to access files from a personal device or contract work to employees in far-flung areas. Cloud services help cut the cost of maintenance, providing access to data from anywhere with an internet connection. Fortunately, there’s a wealth of cloud-based apps and services out there. Here’s a look at some of the best, specifically for small businesses.
One all-purpose cloud app is Box. This all-in-one service includes file sync features, IT controls, security, and file sharing. At its most basic level, Box for business is free. The free personal plan includes 10GB of storage, which is ideal for businesses that are just starting out. As you grow, you can choose to upgrade to business plans with 100GB of storage or even unlimited file storage.
- Amazon Web Services
Amazon’s ambitions to take over all industries extend to the cloud services sector. Amazon Web Services offers a range of different hosting services for businesses of all sizes. The plans are priced very competitively, with pay as you go options along with custom pricing. So what do you get with these web services? You can expect the full gamut of application services on the market today, like mobile data backup, website hosting, and app hosting.
- Microsoft OneDrive
Another big name in the cloud app business is Microsoft. OneDrive is the cloud hosting program freely available with Windows, offering individual users up to 15GB of storage free of charge. You can upgrade to different storage levels for low prices as an individual, or upgrade to business plans starting at 1TB per user. A free trial is included so you can decide if you want to enrol in the monthly plan or not. Search features, cross-platform syncing and third-party app support are key attributes of this service.
- Sprout Social
In addition to full-service apps like the ones above, small businesses can opt to work with big names like Nokia Networks for telco cloud services. Yet cloud apps are also useful in a smaller niche sense. Tools like Sprout Social are cloud-based, performing a more specific role for small business. Sprout Social is a social media analytics tool, with a free trial and multiple pricing tiers. You’ll be able to keep track of social media data seamlessly in the cloud to grow your business.
Evernote is an extremely popular cloud-based app that lets you keep all of your random thoughts, data, and ideas in one handy place. Rather than sticking post-its around the office, jot down your notes in the simple, elegantly designed app and keep it in the cloud.
The best designed cloud services in the world will be no use if you forget to back up your data regularly. Naturally, there’s an app to remind you! MozyPro is an online service allowing users to schedule regular backups to the cloud. This is essential for small to medium enterprises who would suffer huge losses from a data loss or breach, but may not have the funds to invest in a customized backup infrastructure.
With the help of apps and services like these, the cloud makes it easier for small businesses to keep all of their information in one easy-to-retrieve place.