The Good Old Days
Veteran small business owners may frequently reminisce about the “good old days,” pining for an era or a period when things were simple “better” than they are now. It’s very difficult to qualitatively measure whether one period was “better” than another, but we can almost guarantee that you’ll never hear an entrepreneur or small business owner reminisce fondly of the days when most small business productivity software had to be installed, administered and upgraded locally. Young professionals and entrepreneurs may not even remember a time before basic office IT services like email, data storage and software licensing were managed remotely, or when small businesses had to either hire an in-house IT administrator or an independent contractor to manage a local email server. Although some entrepreneurs may have had early concerns about privacy, accessibility or reliability concerns when it came to “the cloud,” the major providers of cloud-based productivity solutions for businesses have proven in the past few years that their services are reliable, economical and secure.
Does Your Small Business Need An All-In-One Solution?
It’s almost impossible to manage and operate a small business of any kind in 2016 without core IT services such as email and file management and storage. However, that doesn’t mean that every small business owner must purchase a cloud-based, all-in-one software productivity suite with paid subscription. Some small businesses, especially retailers with a physical storefront, don’t have a business need to provide their employees with a work email account and other IT services, and if the management team only consists of one or two core individuals, it’s possible to manage a business using personal accounts through Google and Microsoft and utilize the same cloud-based IT tools for free. However, it’s important to remember that the software licensing for personal cloud accounts may not apply to business use, leaving your business legally liable. Using a personal account to conduct business can lead to brand dilution and confusion, insecurity of your intellectual property and the inability to adequately administer other related IT services. Luckily, most prominent providers of cloud-based, all-in-one productivity solutions charge on a per-user basis, meaning your small business isn’t required to purchase subscriptions or licenses for employees that don’t need them.
All Of Your Digital Services Under The Same Domain
If you are a “luddite,” or technical novice, you may be surprised to learn that the domain you utilize for your website can be utilized to like a “big tent,” housing the entire online presence of your business. This would include both your website and your cloud-based, all-in-one productivity solutions – simply put, your professional email addresses don’t need to end in “gmail.com” or “hotmail.com.” Not only do these solutions provide a powerful, economical and easy-to-manage IT solutions for your small business, but they put a professional, brand-affirming face on every digital facet of your business through the expanded use of your domain. Choosing to utilize a cloud-based, all-in-one productivity solution provider won’t require that you change or alter your existing domain registration and web hosting services. You will be required though to change a few settings with your domain registrar, specifically your DNS settings. If you need assistance identifying your domain registrar or making those changes, step-by-step instructions and professional assistance are both available.
In our next post, we will compare the two top a cloud-based, all-in-one productivity solution providers, G Suite (formerly known as Google Apps) and Microsoft’s Office 365. We will also discuss whether an all-in-one solution is right for your business, or if you should purchase certain services from other providers.