5 Cloud Apps Small Businesses Should Love

Businesses of all types have looked to the cloud as a way to receive the goods and services they could use to improve their ability to create revenue, while not having to lay out huge chunks of capital in which to get the dynamic computing infrastructure. Today, developers are creating useful cloud-based applications that not only provide growing businesses the resources they need, they increasingly give workers flexibility, through their inherent accessibility. Today, we will take a look at five cloud-based applications that can really benefit a small business.

QuickBooks Online

QuickBooks has been a major accounting and payroll software for some time, but Intuit, the company behind QuickBooks, has developed the platform in the cloud. QuickBooks Online allows users to create professional invoices, track sales and expenses, manage accounts, automatically download bank transactions, and schedule and send invoices to clients. QuickBooks Online also provides users the ability to work from thousands of different devices, while also providing integration with over 300 other cloud-based applications. Managing your organization’s finances has never been so simple, and affordable.

Evernote

Evernote has moved to the cloud. Like QuickBooks, the Evernote note-taking app has been around for some time, but now that it’s a cloud-based application, users are seeing a stronger, faster, more robust solution than they had before 2017’s migration. Since the Evernote interface allows users to save and archive information found online, it is very much personal information. Evernote has added encryption to their platform, securing people’s information, and providing a trustworthy and feature-rich productivity application completely hosted in the cloud.

DocuSign

Think about how many documents you’ve signed just this year? Imagine if you could forgo the meetings, the appointments, and the expense of travel by just signing official documents through an app? Whether you are making an offer, closing an agreement, or providing access, DocuSign is the right solution for you. Allowing people to remotely sign official documents makes it possible for people who need to get more done faster to do so.

Slack

Slack is a communications platform that provides users integrated options to enhance project management and productivity in the cloud. Slack includes several features designed to help projects move faster, including person-to-person private message boards and instant messaging. You can get everyone on a project on the same page. This enables you to produce more work rooted in success than would be possible without the application.

Asana

Asana is a project management software that allows teams to collaborate by setting projects parameters and milestones and then collaborating to meet those milestones. By giving teams a way to organize, meet their deadlines, share files, and be more pragmatic with their time, more can get done, producing more revenue growth possibilities.

This is a short list of extremely useful applications that work for small businesses, but only you know what business-line applications will work best for your business. If you are looking for a solution to a specific problem, the IT professionals at Kite Technology have the knowledge and expertise necessary to help you choose the right solution for your needs. Call us today at 855-290-KITE for more information.

 

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Tip of the Week: Using Less Data on Android

Mobile data is extremely important to the productivity and efficiency of modern businesses–especially when employees and administrators are out of the office. The major drawback of this is that it can be an expensive setup, as mobile data transfer can be pricey. We can help you get around this issue by minimizing the amount of data your Android device uses.

Checking Your Data Usage

If you want to use less data, the first step is to see how much you’re currently using. To do this, you want to see where most of your data is being used. You can do so by accessing ​System Settings ​and going to your ​Network and Internet ​options. Under this, select​ Mobile data usage​. You’ll then be shown a list of all your applications, as well as how much data they are using. This setting can also show you whether the data was used in the background or during the user’s activity.

Placing Caps on Your Apps

Once you’ve figured out your problem apps, you can put measures in place to limit how much data they consume:

Limit your updates​: Some apps will constantly refresh themselves, which can burn through your mobile data faster than you’d like. Some examples of these are social media applications that update news feeds. You can cut back on how often these applications update their information in two ways. The first includes going to each app’s settings and looking for the option to reduce the amount of data than an app uses in the background. If this doesn’t work, go back to your system settings and access that particular app’s settings to deactivate background data. This isn’t always the best option for apps like messaging that need to refresh in the background in order to work.

Deactivate certain features:​ Some apps have features included that go through more data than you’d like. Examples are auto-play and high-quality streaming. You can change these settings individually by going into the app’s specific settings. Doing this can greatly decrease the amount of data your device uses.

Prepare in advance:​ Downloading content through your mobile data plan can be expensive. Most of the time, you can plan ahead by downloading whatever you need via a Wi-Fi connection instead. You can do this with music apps like Spotify, as well as Google Maps for location-based tasks.

 

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You Can’t Afford Not to Have a Proper Backup Solution

Anything that can go wrong will go wrong. This is what it means to believe in Murphy’s Law, a rather bleak and somewhat nihilistic view of how the world works. Unfortunately, when it comes to your business’ important data, you have to subscribe to this mindset in order to prepare yourself for the worst-case scenario. Every business has its differences, but the end result will remain largely the same–a data backup system customized to fit your organization’s specific needs.

We’ll walk you through five steps to put together the ideal data backup solution for your business.

Determining Your Backup Needs

First, you need to figure out what you hope to gain from your data backup system. After all, you can’t implement a solution without first knowing what you want from it. Doing so is crucial to narrowing down your options so that only the most helpful ones remain. It’s also critical that you never sell your own needs short. Don’t settle for a solution that ultimately won’t work somewhere down the road–your organization’s future is worth more than that.

The industry your organization is a part of will largely influence the type of backup solution that you’ll choose. If you’re in a rapidly growing industry, for example, you’ll need a backup solution that can rapidly restore a large amount of data quickly, regardless of the file format. If you have particularly important data, you should make an effort to prioritize its safety with a specialized solution. You should also consider online threats and vulnerabilities which might hamper your organization’s ability to restore this data. Be prepared to put together a list of security, usability, and reliability standards that you want your organization to benefit from in a backup solution.

Determine Your Budget

Once you’ve figured out your baseline needs, you can know for sure that you’ll be looking only at the best solutions that fit your specific needs. Depending on the solution you choose, you’ll be looking at a variety of different options at various price points. Again depending on your choice, you might also have to factor in employee training, as a solution that’s not automatic will need to be run by your workers. You might be tempted to minimize investment into this, but we urge you to not do so here. Your business’ future is on the line, and a subpar backup solution certainly isn’t doing it any favors. You could be risking everything by trying to cut costs, which could lead to a larger investment in recovering from downtime. While a data backup solution doesn’t directly earn you any profits, it keeps you from spending more than necessary in a worst-case scenario.

Selecting a Platform

Just a few short years ago, a backup could have been something as simple as a hard drive or a tape that had a copy of your business’ data on it. Nowadays, there are much more dynamic options available. Instead of a hard drive, you might instead choose to store your data backups in the cloud for easy access in the event of a loss incident. More than ever before, organizations are considering a hybrid cloud solution that entails using a software-based backup in conjunction with a cloud-based system, allowing for a dynamic and practically guaranteed way to access data in the event of a loss scenario.

Making Your Recovery Plan

A data backup plan is no good if you don’t know how to initiate the recovery step. You should have a detailed plan put in place that’s clear and concise enough that anyone is able to handle the task. This also needs to include important information, like which data should be prioritized and what comes after the restoration. Everyone who has a role to play in the backup and disaster recovery process should be privy to these important details.

Test Your Backups

If you don’t test your backups, you run the risk of them not working at a time when you need them most. To keep this from happening, you should frequently test your backups so that you know for certain that they have the highest chance of succeeding. You’ll want to make sure not only that it works, but that it can restore your data successfully. This is the perfect opportunity to make sure that your employees know how it works as well.

Kite Technology can equip your business with the ideal backup and disaster recovery solution. To learn more, reach out to us at 855-290-KITE.

 

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Technology Basics: Wizard

The word “wizard” may not seem to have much to do with computing, besides calling someone a “computer wiz.” However, there is a particular type of program that serves a very similar purpose, referred to as a wizard as well. We’ll examine it in today’s blog.

What a Wizard Does

Be honest – what first comes to mind when you hear the word “wizard?” Most likely, an old man with a beard, robes, and a pointy hat, waving a wand around and casting spells. These characters often serve as mentors, serving as a guide and a resource.

This is the same purpose that the wizard program serves on your computer. Like Dumbledore instructed Harry Potter and Gandalf pointed Frodo Baggins in the right direction, a software wizard walks a user, step-by-step, to the successful completion some task or goal. This goal is usually the installation and configuration of a program, or possibly running a scan.

What Makes a Wizard?

A software wizard typically breaks up whatever process it applies to into steps, each step represented by a separate page. This allows the wizard to ensure each step is properly completed before progressing with its task. Wizards will often also display progress bars and the like when a process will take some time.

Many wizards today go by different names, or have had their functions absorbed by other programs. Virtual assistants and office assistants both help users in a similar way, but many applications and online forms emulate wizards for the benefit of the user.

 

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Managed Services Works to Support Your Business’ Technology

IT support is one of the most important parts of any modern business simply because it’s just not feasible to run a business without any form of technology at its core. For example, most businesses rely on email and other forms of communication, whereas stores might require access to a point-of-sale software to sell their wares. Either way, it’s critical to the success of most businesses, and where there’s technology, there is bound to be someone who needs to manage and maintain it.

Depending on the type of business you run, you might already have some sort of IT maintenance put in place for your organization. Some small businesses don’t have the budget to hire a comprehensive in-house IT department. In cases like this, your employees are given the responsibilities of taking care of their own technology solutions. While this might seem like a good way to approach technology, it’s actually the opposite–your employees likely aren’t trained in how to properly do this, so it could wind up being more expensive than you might think.

Imagine that an employee’s workstation needs to be updated in some way with the latest patches and security updates. They might try to do this, but they mess up the process and their PC is out of commission for the remainder of the day (or until someone gets around to fixing it). This means that not only do you have to waste time and effort on a second implementation process, but you also have to pay the employee for the time they spend waiting for the device to be fixed. This is called downtime, and it’s one of the biggest reasons why you don’t want to risk untrained technicians applying patches or administering IT maintenance.

Now imagine what happens when you do actually have an in-house IT department managing your technology maintenance. While they might be true professionals in their chosen craft, how do they spend their days? Do they throw away countless hours on IT support that could easily be accomplished by a dedicated help desk? Do they run in circles trying to keep up with their work? If you overload your in-house IT department, it can be like not having one at all.

These reasons and more are why a lot of companies have turned toward outsourcing for their IT needs. By working with a managed service provider like Kite Technology Group, you can leverage IT support as a service, meaning that you get all-you-can-eat IT maintenance based on your service level agreement. If you don’t have an in-house IT department (and even if you do), it’s a great way to supplement your business with accessible and affordable services. To learn more, reach out to Kite Technology Group at 855-290-KITE.

 

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