Ditching IT; Look up to the Cloud

Eric Greenspan Technology and Gadgets Leave a Comment

Launching a new business is a big undertaking. Building infrastructure requires top notch engineers, tremendous expense and ongoing support. So just ditch the IT!

Today, we can launch an entire company within the Cloud. Don’t let this frighten you. I’m talking about setting up email with Google Apps. Our firm can do this for you in less than an hour. Setting up file sharing using Dropbox or another provider. Easy. Need a phone system? Nah. Get a Google Voice number, an eFax number and use your cell phone. What about collaboration? Many options there. Today, entrepreneurs are launching businesses faster, cheaper and with more functionality than ever before and much of it is, well, free.

The Cloud has changed the way we access data also. We can get to our files, voice mails, calendars, emails, send e-blasts, manage Adwords and social media from just about any device, from anywhere, over any connection. We did this back in 2000 with an application service provider that I launched. We were cutting edge. Today, the ASP industry has morphed into the Cloud providers we take for granted.

Here’s a basic setup that will work for most companies:

1. Google Apps for email, calendar and collaboration. You can even use their word processing, spreadsheet and presentation software for free. Best of all, it’s always in the Cloud for access from anywhere.

2. Dropbox for file storage. You can store almost anything on Dropbox and share files and folders with anyone, either inside or outside your organization.

3. Google Voice for phone. You can create phone numbers that route to any of your existing landline and cell phones. This will allow you to have a business line and keep business and personal calls separate.

4. eFax for incoming faxes. When combined with an all in one inkjet printer with a built in scanner, anyone can send and receive faxes today for a low monthly fee and very little configuration. Best of all, your faxes arrive in your inbox as a PDF.

5. Mailchimp for email communications. Easily create rich newsletters and detailed emails or simple notes to send to all of your prospects, clients and colleagues with Mailchimp. Their mobile apps give you great reporting and list management and you can create content on just about any device. The service is free for small users.

6. Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn can be great tools for marketing your product or services. When combined with Mailchimp, you can draw attention to your company fast, easy and for very low cost.

7. WordPress for developing easy to manage and editable websites with rich blogs and great SEO built in. There are hundreds of free templates to use and you can have a site up and running same day.

8. Chartbeat is a great tool for monitoring the activity on your website. They have slick mobile apps too. They even tell you when your site is down or experiencing problems.

9. GoToMeeting can save a startup thousands in travel expenses. The easy to use system allows you to do high definition phone or video conferencing for a low monthly fee.

10. Adobe Creative Cloud is a great new service from Adobe that allows you full access to their entire suite of applications for a low monthly fee. No longer will you have to spend $600 per application to get your hands on Photoshop or Illustrator, to name a couple.

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