In recent years the tool of ‘cloud computing’ has become very popular. Cloud computing is designed so that any resource or information stored may be easily accessed from any location in a matter of minutes. Cloud computing allows businesses to send documents and files, and can also allow companies to access emails on-the-go.

How does Cloud Computing Work?

Cloud computing involves the use of a network with remote servers hosted on the Internet. Instead of having data accessible on a local server or personal computer, data is stored, managed and processed on a remote network. This remote network can be accessed from many locations and offices.

Cloud Based Services

There are five main types of cloud-based services which include:

  1. Productivity tools: Applications which can make businesses more productive.
  2. Storage tools: Used for storing and retrieving files and data from the Cloud.
  3. Backup and recovery tools: Used for backing-up data to the cloud and recovering it from the cloud if required.
  4. Prevention software: Designed to prevent spam, viruses and other types of malware.
  5. Search and find tools: Allows employees to find items that are being searched for.

Businesses are Increasingly Moving to the Cloud. Why?

All businesses must prioritise their ability to access up-to-date and accurate data. Small, medium and large businesses want to be able to access all the latest documents, files, procedures and information without having to request the information from another person or department. Cloud computing is just one useful method for maximising productivity, availability and business output. Cloud computing has proven to be a valuable investment for many businesses.


Cloud Computing Tools

As cloud computing has been around for more than fifty years, there are many different tools that can be used by businesses. Here is a list of some of the most popular cloud-based tools:

  • Google Apps
  • Microsoft Office 365
  • Backupify
  • Zoho
  • Google Bookmarks
  • Blinksale
  • IFTTT (If this, then that)
  • GoBook
  • Pingdom
  • UbuntuOne
  • SyncDocs
  • Boomerang
  • OnLive
  • rollApp
  • CloudOn
  • LogMeIn
  • Cloudsave
  • ZeroPC
  • SpiderOak

While each one of these cloud computing tools can perform different functions to suit businesses, this article will discuss just two productivity suites: 1. Microsoft Office 365 and 2. Google Apps.

Cloud Productivity Suites:

Microsoft Office 365

Microsoft Office 365 is an online cloud productivity suite which allows employees to access office suite programs housed on remote servers. Microsoft Office web apps are versatile and compatible with existing Microsoft office documents. Using Microsoft Office 365 makes it relatively easy to create, open, edit and change documents in Microsoft Office formats. Microsoft Office web tools allows staff to access calendars, contacts, documents and emails from almost anywhere and any device (e.g. PC, smartphone, tablet or laptop).

Microsoft Office 365 productivity suite consists of cloud versions of OneNote, Excel, PowerPoint and Word which can be immediately accessed. Microsoft web apps also includes the following programs:

  • Exchange Online: Managing emails, calendars, contacts and tasks.
  • SharePoint Online: Collaboration and management of documents.
  • Lync Online: Useful features for meetings, such as desktop sharing and instant messaging.
  • SkyDrive: Practical for cloud storage of documents.


Google Apps

Google Apps are a popular alternative to Microsoft Office 365 productivity suites. Google Apps is much more affordable then Microsoft Office web apps. The business edition of Google apps is used by more than five million users around the world. Google Apps have always been designed for the cloud so they are very accessible. These Google apps can work on a wide range of devices (much like Microsoft Office 365) and these apps are very easy for people with little experience to navigate and use. With the business edition of Google Apps, staff will have access to services – such as Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Drive, Google Docs, Google Sheets and Google Slides. For an additional cost, Google Apps can include the Google Vault service which can provide e-discovery, archiving and information governance capabilities.

Google Apps business plan offers up to 30GB of storage (including 25 GB of storage for Gmail inbox and 5 GB of storage with Google Drive). Schedule meetings, email business contacts, create spreadsheets and presentations using Google Apps for Business. Google Apps for Business has the desired applications at an economical price. Fireworks Websites team specialises in Google Apps for Business. Our Brisbane team can set it up and provide ongoing technical support at the standard hourly rate.

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Phone Fireworks Websites on 1300 660 160Β to determine which online cloud productivity suite is most suitable for your business.