Where should businesses begin with cloud?  The truth is, all of us are using cloud solutions at home and at work through our apps, personal email and file storage services.  But, for business owners taking a more strategic approach to cloud solutions can be a challenge: where to begin?

cloud solutions

Of course, there is no magic solution that is perfect for everyone: technology is a tool to help you achieve your business goals, not a goal in itself.

Which solutions are going to work for your business will very much depend on your unique business needs. Regardless of the solutions you choose, one thing is certain: putting the right technology in place is key to supporting your company growth or business goals.

At Netstar we have over 15 years’ experience in helping clients choose the best technology to suit their business needs. Experience has taught us most organisations can benefit from considering alternatives to their current setup. Whatever your daily frustrations, goals and ambitions there will likely be a solution that can help you increase efficiency and potentially reduce costs too.

If you haven’t already started adopting cloud technologies, then you are likely to fall behind your competitors in your ability to provide the best service to your clients. Read on to find out about the three cloud solutions we would recommend any small business invests in now.

The three cloud solutions you should consider now

The three cloud solutions that we believe all businesses should at least consider when it comes to increasing productivity and employee satisfaction are:

  • Office 365
  • Autotask Workplace
  • Hosted Phone Systems

Let’s take a look at each of these three cloud solutions, the business problems they solve and the benefits they can deliver.

Office 365

Office 365Office 365 moves Microsoft’s well-known desktop apps, like Word and Excel, to a subscription-based cloud delivery model.

This has huge advantages in terms of IT administration – making it easy to ensure everyone in your organisation has access to the latest features and everyone is running the same version of Office.

However, Office 365 offers more than simply a new way of paying for your Word licences, it also includes:

  • Email, Calendar and Contacts
  • Mobile versions of Microsoft Office apps for iOS, Android or Windows as well as standard installations
  • Group communication and collaboration tools such as Skype

When we helped our client Vivobarefoot migrate to Office 365, they enjoyed several important benefits.

Damian Peat, Director of Operations and Sustainability at Vivobarefoot, explains: “We had been using an old Microsoft Exchange server which broke all the time and only allowed users a very limited inbox.  We also had a problem with everyone being on different Office versions.  Netstar helped us to move to Office 365, so we’re now all on the same version and users enjoy a much better email experience.”

We’ve also found that moving to Office 365 helps to make the onboarding and offboarding of staff easier.  Because everything is held and managed centrally, simply deactivating the user account will ensure a former employee no longer has access to files and systems.  Similarly, you can set new joiners up quickly and easily.

The benefits to you:

  • Easier, faster staff onboarding and offboarding
  • Centrally managed system for ease of access and enhanced security
  • Enhanced group communication and collaboration
  • Easy mobile access to apps and email

If you haven’t already switched to Office 365, this is one cloud solution you should look at immediately.

Autotask Workplace

AutotaskAutotask Workplace is a cloud solution designed to help businesses sync and share files.  It enables users to save documents in a way that makes it easy to collaborate and access documents remotely.

If you’ve ever been half-way through a presentation and realised you haven’t got the right version with the slide you need, or had your laptop stolen which you hadn’t quite got around to backing up, you’ll understand how useful this could be.

Autotask Workplace helps with access control too. Users simply set up permissions for different file and folder access. When you need to send someone something, you share the file location securely – instead of sharing the file itself.

This type of solution is ideal for organisations which have large numbers of mobile workers, multiple sites, or virtual teams due to of the simplicity it brings to enabling users to collaborate on business documents anytime and from anywhere.

Designed specifically to meet the needs of businesses it provides good security features, granular access permissions, and simple central administration and device management.

The benefits to you:

  • Share documents securely
  • Enable version control
  • Facilitate remote access
  • Improve productivity

If you are having problems with document management, access and/or collaboration, this is one cloud solution that could solve your problems.

Hosted phone systems

A cloud-based phone system gives you more flexibility because calls can be directed to remote handsets as if they are in the office – ideal if you have remote workers or are managing virtual teams. Phones can also easily be moved around, and there is no upfront investment in hardware required. Not having on-premise hardware also means in the event of a disaster you can set up again quickly through the cloud.

The key benefits of moving to a Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) phone service – i.e. a phone system that is hosted in the cloud – is that you will, ultimately, spend less money on hardware and maintenance. It gives you the ability to easily make changes when required, or have your IT Support Partner do it on your behalf.

Our clients find that switching to a hosted phone system can result in up to 40% reduction in phone call costs.

The benefits to you:

  • Lower maintenance and hardware costs
  • Flexible for remote setup
  • Backup and disaster recovery made easier

Whether or not you are coming to the end of life of your existing telephony system, provided you have a strong, reliable Internet connection, we recommend investigating how much you could save with a hosted phone system.

Are these three solutions right for your organisation?

While we recognise that all businesses have their own unique needs when it comes to IT, we feel that these three solutions have universal appeal.  They make a great starting point for any organisation that is asking the question “what can the cloud do for me?”.

Here at Netstar, we believe the cloud solutions that will give the biggest returns to the widest range of organisations are:

  • Office 365
  • Autotask Workplace
  • Hosted Phone Systems

If you would like to know more about these three cloud solutions, contact the Netstar team and we will be happy to talk through the options in more detail.

If you’re already considering – or already using – these solutions and want advice about how to ensure you get maximum benefit from them, we can help with that too!

Contact us today by filling out our contact form or call us on 02036 574 489