Friday, November 13, 2009

Expanding the definition of “office”

Being as involved as we are in the world of small business, we hear about a lot of non-traditional offices. People convert their kids’ playroom at home into an office; they work completely out of their cars; some regularly hang out at restaurants with free wi-fi connections or rent a little space in the back of a store. But this story tops them all. One of the women profiled in it actually runs two online businesses out of a tent in Kenya.

That’s really taking anywhere, anytime to the extreme. But it does point out how having the right technologies at your disposal means you can operate your business how you want, when you want, and even where you want.

Toward the end of the article, they mention that one of the technologies that’s making things easier for small businesses is “cloud computing.” With cloud computing you don’t have to buy and maintain expensive software or hardware. You sign up for a service, then log in over the Internet (aka the “cloud”) to use it. All you need is a laptop or a smart phone and an Internet connection, which sure beats trying to find space for and maintaining a room full of servers. Especially if you’re working out of a tent in Kenya.

MyFax and my1voice are examples of cloud computing, by the way. Bet you didn’t realize you were right on top of a technology trend!

Small businesses are using the cloud for lots of things, including file storage, accounting, email, calendars, contact management and even desktop applications such as word processing and spreadsheets. How about you? What applications have you moved to the cloud?

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