17 August 2019

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Best cloud services for small businesses

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Cloud Services
Best cloud services for small businesses

Google, Amazon, Dropbox, Salesforce and Microsoft are some popular cloud computing service providers. But, is that all? Plenty of cloud computing resources are available for small businesses, if you are ready to look beyond those ever-popular cloud computing services.

Let’s look at some incredibly valuable cloud computing services that can help small businesses. Are you worried about infrastructure investments? No need, these services come with zero baggage. Compare the benefits of each service and choose the one that most suits your business strategies.


1. Approval Donkey

Approval Donkey

It’s a cloud-based approval workflow and you can use the free version up to three workflows. Its Plus program costs you $13 per month. Sometimes a project comes to a screaming halt, because of not getting approval from the next in the chain. Maybe, the next in the chain actually wants the project to go through, but he/she never got around to signing off. There is a huge chance for the approval email to get lost in the pile of mails. Approval Donkey automates this process and integrates with hundreds of other applications using Zapier and gives a centralized interface. You can set up certain approval workflow patterns, which move the approval along a pre-defined chain. You can also track the status of any approval and check if there are any holdups. If you're dealing with accounting and finance approval flows, stakeholder approval flows or operations and administration approval flows, give Approval Donkey a try.


2. Asana


Asana is a project management app that organizes projects across teams and its free version allows up to 15 members. The free version offers only limited features. If you want to expand beyond 15 people to large teams and more features, you can upgrade the service by paying $9.99 per month. They have also released an enterprise version. Asana manages sets of tasks across people and groups, and provides connected conversations, reporting and tracking. This service makes all the project-related work transparent and easily accessible to the team members. If you've been handling projects with a heap of spreadsheets or emailing attachments, Asana will be your best rescue option.


3. Airtable


Airtable is a mix of cloud-based spreadsheet and database. it's a flexible information manager that looks like a combination of Trello, Google Docs and a structured Evernote. The free version manages up to 1,200 elements with limited features. To upgrade to the paid version, you will have to pay $10 per month. Airtable allows you to store, structure, share the information and work on it in a variety of forms. It comes with a wide range of templates, so you can structure your data in a form that fits your project. Airtable helps you manage the stuff that your project is made up of. The free version stores up to 2GB of data along with two weeks of revision tracking. If you upgrade to the paid subscription, you will get more data, more items and six months of revision tracking, along with support.


4. Backblaze


Backblaze is an easy and less expensive cloud storage service. Backblaze offers its service for $5 per machine every month. You can back up any drive inside the machine as well as any drive connected through a USB connection. This won't back up your personal NAS boxes. Backblaze is trying to include end-user backups and object-based cloud storage together in its service. It offers a backup system that keeps copies of your local data in the cloud. Backblaze's service is called B2. Backblaze is less expensive than the big services, yet still offers a rich API and some good integrations. The data centre approach of Backblaze provides regular reports on hard drive reliability and the challenges of running a data centre. When most cloud storage providers are opaque, Backblaze's transparency is definitely a boon.


5. Cloudphone

Cloud Phone

Cloudphone is a Virtual PBX. The base plan starts at $12 per month for one local number and three extensions and goes up to $49 per month for five local numbers and unlimited extensions. There is no free plan for this service. Cloudphone is like having a fully functional corporate PBX without any hassles. It converts individual smartphones into business phones, allowing your employees to work anywhere and still be on the corporate phone system.

Whether to back up your data on the internet, avail free web-based email services or store photos and music online, cloud computing is a necessity in this age. For small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), cloud computing offers many advantages. As data and applications are hosted remotely, it takes away the cost and burden of hardware and software purchase and maintenance. Fundamentally, cloud computing offers four key advantages for small and medium scale enterprises: flexibility, scalability, easy accessibility and pay-per-use models.

Note: The logos are taken from google. These may be subject to copyright.


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