“Working in the Cloud” is big news these days for businesses of any size. For small and medium enterprises, cloud technology can be an invaluable tool that gives access to services and functionalities previously only available to larger operations. For those considering starting up, or already up and running, finding good cloud computing services can bring savings in both time and money. It can also reduce IT problems and offer incredible flexibility, however large or small your business operation is.
Finding the right cloud computing tools for your business may take a little research but some key tools are listed below. (Editor’s note: Be sure to check out our previous post on the “Best Cloud Computing Services and Apps for Small Business”, too.)

Essential Cloud Computing Tools for Business

Google Play: Google Play has just been launched. This cloud solution may well be most appropriate to those working in the creative industries. It allows you to remotely store media, including books, music and images, even mobile apps. This can have a significant impact on hard drive usage, making access to documents and media files (when visiting clients and/or working with colleagues remotely) easier than ever before.
Dropbox: Dropbox is a well-established file sharing (and data backup) solution. Files and documents can be managed online or through the installed desktop software; access can be arranged for remote colleagues, clients, and collaborators; and, of course, important documents – in any format – need not be found hiding back at the office; files stored in Dropbox can be accessed from any Web-enabled device, anywhere at anytime.
Evernote: Evernote is the cloud-based version of post-it notes, voice memos, filo-faxes, secretaries and the good old fashioned to-do list. It allows you to store lists, dairy entries, recipes and any ‘stuff’ you need to remember. There’s not much you can’t add to “Evernote” and you can adapt it to your own personal or business needs.
Quickbooks: Online accounting software is becoming an essential tool for businesses. It allows access for employees and ensures that integration between systems will no longer cause headaches. For small businesses, it offers some excellent solutions that previously may have been difficult to access. Producing professional reports, records, invoices, and statements, Quickbooks creates a “big business” look, however small your operation actually may be. Accounting records are crucial to all businesses, and cloud-based systems protect these from IT problems in the office, wherever the office is.

Timely Management Solutions

This is just a small selection of the cloud computing tools available to small businesses, and it aims to highlight some areas that are essential to small businesses in particular. The real advantage of cloud computing is the fact that it protects against loss of data. Stored remotely, and accessible from a range of devices, cloud computing helps keep small businesses flexible and responsive. Many self-employed workers will need to be out and about working on the day job. Administrative tasks – including business accounting – have previously been restricted to the end of the working day, often eating into the home lives of those who are self-employed. In addition, cloud computing solutions ends dead spells for professionals and businesses of any size. Traveling to business meetings? Well, with cloud computing, you can continue to work – without the danger of losing or not having in your hand the most important or necessary documents. Whatever your business, and whatever its size, harnessing the seemingly limitless power of cloud computing can bring incredible opportunities.
About the author: Neil blogs about web 2.0 and networks. Cloud computing offers endless benefits to businesses, both large and small. Online accounting software helps to streamline all aspects of business accounting, saving time and money.