I’ve written numerous times about the benefits of moving your small business’s IT infrastructure to the cloud. It is secure, flexible, inexpensive, and mobile. Today I’d like to present the perfect combination of services that every small business should consider to cover all aspects of data management, security, and business capabilities.
You must first start with a foundation to build on, and that foundation is Google Apps for Work. Work email, calendars, contacts, documents, and productivity software are all hosted on Google’s cutting edge cloud platform, providing all the tools needed for the modern, mobile workplace on any computing device. As a bonus, you also get a full featured communications and conference product in Google Hangouts, the ability to quickly create internal and external forms and surveys in Google Forms, and the ability to securely administer and control all aspects of your organization’s data with included admin tools.
Now, this is the point where I show how Google Apps goes from being a great stand-alone cloud product to an incredible foundation for other services to ‘augment’ the base Google Apps platform into something incredible. Google has granted direct developer API access to their platform, letting other parties build enhancements that plug directly into the base Google Apps platform. You can check out what advancements are possible in the Google Apps Marketplace.
Next, you need to be able to centralize control and ownership of company owned documents that aren’t tied to a specific user (e.g. a central file server). A product called AODocs allows centralized management of a central company location of communal documents. It’s like having a central file server with having to deal with a physical file server. For those who love their MS Office programs and aren’t ready to make the jump to Google’s document suite, Office files can be opened from the web viewer, and edited/saved over the source document.
Next, and I cannot emphasize this enough, you need to back up your organization’s data! While cloud based solutions help immensely in keeping data safe and available, employees can still delete crucial data (accidentally and maliciously), and if using a local sync service, malware can corrupt a local data store which can then overwrite the cloud based version as well. Just look at what a Hollywood hospital had to pay just to get their data back from a malware attack. Guess who didn’t have proper backups in place?
Spanning provides direct cloud to cloud backups of all your organization’s critical data. The online Google data is directly backed up to Spanning’s cloud servers, no interaction on devices on your network is necessary (this is a very good thing). Email, contacts, calendars, internal company sites, and most importantly, business documents are all securely backed up every day. Even better, you can perform point in time restores (for example, if you know that an important folder was deleted 3 days ago, you can restore the version from 4 days ago to replace it).
Finally, your organization needs a phone system, right? Dialpad is a cloud based PBX that integrates closely with Google Apps. Port your existing phone numbers into Dialpad, and turn any physical phone (desk phone or mobile) or any other computing device into your business line. You can even take a phone call on one device, and transfer the call to another device on the fly. Create toll free numbers, fax lines, executive assistant queues, and more with ease, and view emails and calendar appointments with contacts within the same interface.
Altogether, the value and capabilities of modern cloud technology solutions, properly implemented, are simply incredible. World class email, productivity software, collaboration tools, secure backups, centralized file management, and phone capabilities are all possible without having to set up your own servers, telco closet, or any other overhead that costs time and money to operate. Interested? We can help make it a reality.