Cloud-Based Tools to Save Your Home Business Time and Money

10 Cloud Resources for Your Home Business

Cloud Storage for Home Business
••• Credit: Colin Anderson | Getty Images

Using cloud-based tools can reduce duplicating work and the need for hard copies. Anyone with Internet access can instantly access documents, plus share and edit them, making collaborating with your virtual assistant or your team much easier. The trick is to decide the best tools for your home business. Here are 10 of the top cloud-based tools to help you do business.

10 Top Cloud-Based Tools

  1. Google Drive: It’s a staple for a reason. It offers 15 GB of free storage before having to upgrade, which for many small businesses and entrepreneurs, is more than enough. Plus, many North Americans use Gmail as their favorite personal email address, making it incredibly easy to coordinate with others who have access. (Free up to 15 GB)
  2. AtomSphere: Both a platform and a service, this option is prime for those who want to combine a number of cloud tool applications so they play nicely with one another. It also integrates with on-premise apps, maximizing functionality and allowing for multi-data usage. Currently, this cloud tool is responsible for over one million integration processes every day. (Free).
  1. DropboxAnother gold standard, Dropbox is a hybrid option preferred by a variety of businesses for ease of use, security, and intuitiveness. If you’re working with a variety of people who might not be very tech-savvy, Dropbox is an excellent introduction and offers enough customization to make the storage solution truly yours. (Free and fee for business or more space).
  2. TopDox: TopDox is considered by some to be a better alternative to DropBox—but you be the judge. It offers the same share, edit, upload/download as DropBox, works on virtually any platform or device, and is also designed with user-friendliness in mind. Is one better than the other? Each has their fans, and if you’re looking for the ultimate document management cloud tool, try them both out and see what you think. (Free options available with maximum monthly cost $5.99).
  1. Informatica Cloud Data Masking: The latest from Informatica is a suite of cloud tools with integration at the core while tackling data security concerns in the cloud era. Great defenses start with having the right cloud tools. Informatica is designed to minimize your vulnerability, especially if you’re a business that creates and manages work within the cloud. (Prices start at $1,000 per month with most clients falling into the enterprise category).
  2. Slack: As virtual teams and telecommuting become the norm, the need to figure out how to best communicate with remote teams becomes more important. Slack is a cloud tool geared towards reducing miscommunication, making communication faster and more efficient and (as the name suggests) fight the temptation to slack off when you’re supposed to be working. (Free options are available and price ranges go up to $12.50 per month).
  1. Kissmetrics: Kissmetrics is the analytics tool that’s been the golden child of marketers for years. You’re given the power not just to gather the data you need, but to analyze and put it to use. Kissmetrics helps you increase your engagement, make better decisions based on your analytics, and do it all without ever having to code a single line. If you’re not utilizing cloud tools to take care of your analytics, you’re likely doing more work than is necessary. (Prices start at $220 per month).
  2. Service Cloud EinsteinA SalesForce cloud tool, Service Cloud Einstein is designed to help sales teams close sales quickly. It offers 24/7 support and you can customize relationship management with customers while giving clients the tools they need to problem solve. (Prices start at $75 per month).
  1. Hip Chat: Hip Chat offers group chat, screen sharing and video chat with one simple cloud tool. You can operate it on absolutely everything, prevent headaches when requiring everyone to switch from one mode to another (like Skype to Go to Meeting). It offers messaging, secure guest access, drag and share files and unlimited chat rooms. Plus, it can be customized to suit any size group. (Free option available with an upgrade option for $2 per month).
  2. 17 Hats: We all wear a lot of hats at the office—why not try out a cloud tool that wears 17? In just half an hour, you can integrate 17Hats with your email and bank account, customize lead pages that are embeddable, access a contact book, set up emails to be highlighted if they’re from key contacts, get project management squared away and set up invoices and quotes that are formatted just for you. (Fees start at $25 per month).

    With so many cloud tool solutions out there, it can be overwhelming to wade through them all. Choose solutions that are based on your goals and business needs, backed by industry reviews and recommendations. These 10 will get you started. Which would you add to the list?