Cloud computing can have many meanings. One of which are applications that you as a customer can access through an internet connection. That is the focus of this article.
Applications in the cloud provide ways to let businesses operate through e-mail, collaborative tools and specialized applications. Generally, applications can be customized and used from the headquarter office, home office or a remote location such as an internet café. Company files can be stored and accessed in the cloud providing a level of security and disaster recovery often too expensive for most small to medium size business to provide in their own IT environments. You can further benefit by eliminating the need for in-house technical expertise. Large up-front expenditures such as equipment, on-going maintenance costs and continual software upgrades are no longer needed to support your IT environment. When your business is ready to grow, a per user or seat fee provides a predictable way of knowing what your IT budget will require to support the growth.
Below are some examples of cloud based applications and tool to consider using in your business.
These applications provide e-mail messaging, individual and group calendaring, scheduling tools, file storage and generally integrate with mobile devices.
Fax-to-Email Services: Allows users to receive incoming faxes and to send outbound faxes through e-mail.
Hosted Phone Solutions: Provides full telephone system functionality and generally requires the only equipment purchase of a phone hand-set. Often times these solutions provide user-rich features that often required program changes by your phone vendor. Now these features are at the user’s finger tips and can be manipulated easily by on-line web-based tools. Many of these solutions also provide unified-communications where your voice and fax mail are integrated with your e-mail mail box.
File Storage Solutions: Provides team-oriented applications and websites for file sharing. Some services provide additional functions such as the ability to easily search files, revision control and alerts to tell them when existing documents and information have changed.
Moving these applications to the cloud is an a great way to reduce the burden of maintaining your own infrastructure.