More and more of the work that many businesses do on their 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 their computers – are accessed remotely, on computers and servers to which they connect. Companies that provide these applications are offering what is called Software as a Service (SaaS).

The advantage to working and storing in the cloud is accessibility.

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. SaaS frees you from being tied to one computer to access a program. Accessibility isn’t just convenient for you; it can also facilitate sharing information with others, because the data is constantly synced and accessible by those with whom you’re working via their account password.

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. Some of these services are free, while others require you to purchase software or subscribe.  Here are a few services 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 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, 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.  It can be especially useful for files that are too large to be sent by email.

Highrise™ – Manage your biggest asset – your contacts – with this contact relationship management program. In addition to keeping track of names and contact information for your customers, associates and prospects, you can also schedule follow-ups, track conversations and deals, and filter by tag. And you can do it any time, from any Internet connection.

Basecamp™ – This SaaS 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 is very important to any business. In these times when employees and jobs hail from all over the globe, it’s good to know that their ability to work can travel with them conveniently.

A business interested in cloud computing should design its cloud strategy carefully, taking into account such matters as the security features of the particular cloud service provider and the specific type of data the company wants to store.

 

The information provided is presented for general informational purposes only and does not constitute tax, legal or business advice.