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First of all, for those who don’t know, The Cloud is what’s used to describe the platform that hosts “Cloud computing”, which basically means the holding and sharing of resources over a network (mainly the internet). The Cloud is seen, and used, just like a utility now. It’s all on tap – could you benefit from it? You might be surprised with the info we’ve got to share. We’re talking Google Apps this month, find out what it could mean for your business, particularly in £’s.
Okay, we know there is only one “Cloud”, but there are many hosts currently offering services (such as email, resource sharing, call centre solutions and other systems) that claim to benefit your business using Cloud computing, so how can you know which would work for you?
First and foremost, we recommend research. Determining the quality of cloud computing vendors and finding one you can trust just means reviewing what’s out there. However, if you don’t have much time (as most business entrepreneurs don’t) why not go with a well-known name?
Tip: The smaller a provider is, the less likely they are to be stable. But bigger organisations (Google, Amazon, etc.) are highly unlikely to vanish into thin air, and most have good track records.
Google Apps is the business-class version of Google Docs. With it, your business gets Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Sites and Google Docs.
Gmail allows your business (and all of its users) to have professional, custom emails (firstname.lastname@example.org), thus making your business, small or large, appear to be a serious contender. Plus, each account gets 25GB of storage, which Google claims is 50 times the industry average!
Google Calendar allows each user to update and input events onto his or her calendar, which then update automatically onto every other users calendar, so every user knows everyone else’s schedule. Unless of course, security settings are changed, which is also possible. Plus, Google Calendar can be published, so customers or parties with an interest in the goings on of your business can view it publicly too.
Google Sites is a sort of intranet for your business employees. This is where they can organise projects, share information, host important training information, centralise documents…the list goes on. It’s super user friendly, there isn’t any HTML coding needed, or any other tech-based jargon.
Google Docs lets you, and other users, to upload, create, share, even edit online documents, spreadsheets, presentations, etc. With Google Docs, colleagues can work collaboratively and edit documents in realtime, which means that other colleagues can watch the work happening – while it’s happening. Handy!
The best, and most valuable pieces of information for you though, are that this system simplifies everything you do on a day-to-day basis, and it has the potential to save you money (for some business owners, literally thousands). Being able to connect with your colleagues, and receive, update and control any important company information from anywhere on the globe is invaluable. And wherever there’s a chance to cut back a few pennies, (in this case, because Google Apps saves you from having to pay for expensive system upgrades and software for separate mobile devices, and, apart from your own information, is virtually maintenance free) there’s reason to investigate.
The Cloud is definitely worth having a nosey around. If you like the sounds of Google Apps for your SME, you can try out their free trial, plus calculate your estimated savings, at www.google.com/apps.
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