More and more of the work we do on our computers is performed on and stored in, "the cloud." In other words, the programs and the data stored in them - rather than being stored locally on our computers - are accessed remotely, on computers and servers to which we connect. Companies that provide these applications are offering what is called Software as a Service (SaaS).
There are major advantages to working and storing in the cloud: Accessibility and Security.
Accessibility - When you work in a program that is accessible over the Internet, you can access it from anywhere you have Internet access and from any device: your smartphone, a tablet, laptop or desktop computer. Software as a Service frees you from being tied to one computer to access a program. That accessibility isn't just convenient for you; it facilitates sharing information with others because the data is constantly synced and accessible by those with whom you're working via their account password.
Security - Because your data is stored off-site, you needn't worry that a computer crash will result in loss of your data.
Software as a Service lets you work remotely, collaborate from separate locations and update work in real time. Much of what you do could probably be performed more efficiently by implementing the proper SaaS. Here are a few that could help with the performance of your basic business functions:
Gmail - An email client in the cloud. Because your email is stored on the Internet and not in a program installed on your computer, you can access your email on your phone, or on any Internet-connected device.
Google Docs (soon to be Google Drive) - Create documents, spreadsheets, forms and presentations, then share them with others in the same format, accessed through a Google account.
Toodledo - A web-based to-do list. Add to and check off those to-dos wherever you are. Sort task views to suit your location, resources, a schedule or deadline and update on the fly.
Dropbox - This service allows you to share documents, photos and files directly from one computer to another, instantaneously.
Highrise - Manage your biggest asset - your contacts - with this contact relationship management program. More than simply keeping track of names and contact information for your customers, associates and prospects, you can schedule follow-ups, track conversations and deals and filter by tag. And you can do it any time, from any Internet connection.
Basecamp - This SaSS allows you to collaborate with a team on a project or projects from anywhere. Files and documents are centrally stored and can be accessed by and shared among the team, from wherever they are.
Data accessibility and security are of utmost importance to any business. In these times when employees and jobs hail from all over the globe, it's good to know that our ability to work can travel with us, conveniently and securely.
How can working in the cloud benefit your business?
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