Let’s face it, your business has more competition than ever. And they’ll eat you alive if you fall behind in today’s technology “arms race.”
Maybe your network needs greater security. Or you haven’t yet taken advantage of new cloud-based apps that help your team get more done in less time. Today, the action is in the cloud. And if you don’t know what’s out there, it’s just that much easier for competitors to pull ahead.
To help you stay on top, here’s a quick survey of four ways to put the cloud in your corner, along with examples of each.
Network Security As devices on your network becomes more diverse and mobile, monitoring them in real-time is absolutely critical to averting cyber-attacks. A good network-security tool probes for weak points and alerts you to potential threats. It can employ both hardware and software technologies. And today’s environment demands a bevy of checkpoints, from access control to WiFi-intrusion monitoring.
But how do you protect against threats that evade your monitoring efforts? Due to the recent spread of “file-less” malware, no antivirus program is 100% “bullet-proof.” However, you should be able to find basic software protection for around $40 per user. Look for features such as e-mail security, data loss prevention, network segmentation, and behavioral analytics. And ideally, it scans quickly, takes up little space on your devices, and may even be able to recover files encrypted by ransomware.
Collaboration Giving your team the right cloud collaboration tools can be almost as good as giving them steroids… (Except, of course, it’s legal.) With the wide array of apps available today, the trick is finding the best one – or the best combination – for your company. Top contenders include Asana, Slack, Teamwork, Trello, and Google Drive. These and similar apps can improve efficiencies in areas like project and task management, team communications and collaboration, brainstorming, document processing and storage, and more. And with cloud collaboration, you’re no longer restricted to bringing aboard talent from your local area alone.
Contracts & Accounting Contracts and proposals that get bogged down in logistics can hurt monthly revenues. Is your sales team still asking customers to sign and fax back important documents? If so, they’re losing precious minutes every day. Then there’s the cost of storing and managing physical files. It all adds up. It’s no wonder so many companies now use electronic signature apps, such as DocuSign, Adobe Sign, and RPost. They’ll let you manage the signing of important documents entirely online, and will encrypt and store files for you. Some are even court-approved and create a full audit trail.
For small business accounting, industry veteran QuickBooks, now with an online version, and upstart Xero can help you keep the books with relative ease. They both offer a clean, intuitive UI and affordable pricing with a comprehensive set of features. And, of course, being cloud-based, they can be accessed from a variety of locations, adding flexibility to your workforce.
Business Planning Does your company need to prove its mettle to investors? You’d be hard-pressed to find a better all-in-one planning solution than Tarkenton GoSmallBiz. Created by NFL Hall of Fame quarterback Fran Tarkenton, it’s specifically built for small businesses. You get highly customizable and detailed data fields to help simplify your planning process. It then lets you create financial statements and projections without external spreadsheets. And as a subscriber to GoSmallBiz, you also get access to business-planning experts who can help you tweak your plans and proposals.
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