4 Effective Small Business IT Solutions

In a recent Spiceworks-Carboinate survey, only one-third of the 1,000 small business IT professionals surveyed believed that 100 percent of their company’s data could be retrieved in the event of data loss related to BYOD. For the remaining portion of small businesses, a data loss can spell disaster. Just because you don’t have the same budget as a large corporation, does not mean your business can — or should — run these risks. Consider adopting these inexpensive, yet effective, small business IT solutions to stay safe and productive.


Atos - Patrick Adiba - Bring your own device


Cloud Computing

A tiny IT department can struggle to back up business data, maintain a secure commuting environment and put out tech fires. Outsource the data backup to a cloud computing vendor to give IT staff some breathing room. An SMB study found that 52 percent of small businesses are already looking to the cloud for data storage. Solutions to consider include Dropbox, which offers free personal accounts and paid business accounts, and Microsoft SkyDrive, which has the ability to replicate files across systems and offers free and paid plans. Both cloud computing solutions have desktop clients and cloud platforms so staff can access needed files on the go. Set up an automated cloud backup to run once a day or once a week, which keeps your business data secure. In the event of data loss, download data from the cloud to restore your files.

Mobile Devices

Allowing employees to bring their own phones to work can save money and stretch a limited tech budget. However, BYOD presents challenges. What happens if a staff member loses a phone? To protect business data from hackers, IT needs to keep all devices secure and up-to-date and may need remote access to devices in order to wipe data clean if it is stolen. Blackberry offers a mobile management tool that allows IT to manage their BYOD program and different types of smartphones from one centralized console. Test it out with a 60-day free trial.

Videoconferencing Solutions

English: Cloud Computing

English: Cloud Computing (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Not only is videoconferencing a headache for IT staff who often must set up the system, it calls for expensive equipment that can be out of a small business’s price range. Save time and money with a Web-based videoconferencing solution, which also supports teleconferencing. One to consider is AdobeConnect, which supports videoconferencing, webinars and e-learning. AdobeConnect is subscription-based and prices vary by the size of your business. Try a free 30-day trial or contact Adobe directly to obtain price information for your business. Skype is another free and fast solution.

IT Security

The average small business owner doesn’t know enough about hackers, phishing, spyware and other cybercrime to effectively monitor networked security. Antivirus software and firewalls can help, but are only small components of a comprehensive security approach. Outsourcing security can be a cost-effective way to maintain the safety of business data 24/7. Providers can perform basic system setup or take a comprehensive, hands-on role in active security monitoring, threat prevention and threat detection. Security as a service providers include AT&T, CSC, Dell SecureWorks, HP, IBM, Symantec, Trustwave, Verizon, and Wipro, Forrester Research notes. Packages vary by service provider and level of services requested. A good security provider should be able to clearly explain its services in plain English, so you know what you are signing up for.


Holly Collier Holly is a digital marketing consultant for small businesses

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Can Dropbox survive against Google Drive and Microsoft SkyDrive

Cover of

Cover of Organize Your Home Office

First let me share some good articles to read from some academic friends of mine:

Last week, I shared a blog post about the new Google drive service.  In the post, I talked about Dropbox, which is a service I’ve used for years.  You can find out more about Dropbox in the following articles:

A USB flash drive in the shape of a piece of i...

A USB flash drive in the shape of a piece of ikura (salmon roe) sushi. Photo taken by Tokugawapants using Konica-Minolta Maxxum 5d with Minolta AF 100mm Macro lens. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Now let me pose a question.  How well will Dropbox do, now that Google and Microsoft (i.e. SkyDrive) have entered the picture?

If we read through the Wiki article, there are some interesting tidbits to discover.  For one thing, it was started by an MIT graduate.  This person kept forgetting his USB flash drive.  It looks like they really got off the ground in the year 2010.

In 2011, they have a user base of around 50 million users.  It’s estimated the valuation of the company is anywhere from 1 to 10 billion.  It also mentions that two U2 band members are investors.

Now we come along and find a recent news story entitled Review: Using Files Made Easy with Online Storage at Using Files.  Here we see a popular news service covering Dropbox, Google Drive and Microsoft SkyDrive.

If you look at the free offerings, Dropbox gives you 2 gig, Google 5 gig, and Microsoft 7 gig.  So right away, we find the 2 well-known software companies are offering up more than Dropbox.

USB Flash Drive Chapped

USB Flash Drive Chapped (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If I look at the Wiki article on SkyDrive at Wiki article on SkyDrive, it mentions the service has been tested since 2007.  Were the Dropbox founders aware of this?

A good comparison article for cloud services is How To Choose The Best Cloud For Your Data Best Cloud

It’s interesting that Dropbox is chiefly written in the scripting language Python.  It’s a scripting language I played with a while back, along with Perl and PHP.  It’s easier to build something in a scripting language than a tradition language like Java, C++ or C#.

Perhaps it’s easier to compare the services to members of the Avengers movie.  There might be room for all players, just as there is room for all avengers characters.  Actually, I don’t think the Black Widow and Hawkeye add much to what the Avengers can do.  Thor, Hulk and Iron Man will offer the raw power needed.  Captain America is needed on the Avengers as Batman is on the Justice League.  Both are skilled strategists who can figure out ways to find weak points, etc.  Both are also skilled warriors in battle.  Either can be a team leader.