Don’t shy away from technology in your business! It’s time to get acquainted with some of the best technology and software solutions for small businesses at the moment.
1. Encrypt emails for free with My Protected Mail
Of course we’re going to start with one of our own products! The introduction of GDPR has placed a renewed emphasis on email security. All small businesses have a duty to protect the data of their customers, clients, and employees. A reliable, straightforward way to protect data sent electronically is to use encryption.
Encrypted emails can only be viewed by the sender and specified receivers; they are protected from interception, even when an email is forwarded.
My Protected Mail does this for free. There’s no software to install; simply send your email to a dedicated mailbox, and the platform will issue a Microsoft Protected Email that can be accessed only by the intended recipient. There’s also scope to add enhanced features for a reasonable monthly fee for developers to encrypt web portal or app communication. Try My Protected Mail here.
2. Defend your business from online attacks with Acronis Ransomware Protection
Ransomware attacks, in which malicious software blocks access to devices with the aim of extorting money from the owner, can completely devastate a small business. Not to mention the risk of a data breach. It’s critically important to proactively prepare; you can find out more by clicking here.
Ransomware protection software mitigates this risk, and it doesn’t have to cost the earth! Acronis Ransomware Protection monitors suspicious behaviour, blocks malicious applications, encrypts files, and recovers damaged data; all for free.
3. Organise every aspect of your business with Asana
Asana is a project management platform that helps your entire team to stay organised and efficient. It allows you to create projects and tasks, assign team members, set deadlines, allocate documents, run reports, and myriad other jobs. It’s suitable for use on computers and mobile devices; even when travelling, you can keep on top of your business!
Asana also interacts seamlessly with 100 other platforms, helping to manage emails, files, calendars, workflows, and dozens of other tasks from one place, simplifying your business processes.
4. Take storage to the cloud!
Cloud-based storage has proven itself to be a reliable and economical alternative to traditional hard drives and servers. The key benefits to small businesses include cost-effectiveness, automatic backup and recovery, remote accessibility from all devices, and no ongoing server maintenance.
There are countless services to choose from, but our favourites are Dropbox, OneDrive, and Google Drive. All have common features, such as free storage (although the amount varies; 2GB for Dropbox, 5GB for OneDrive, and a whopping 15GB for Google Drive), document collaboration, link sharing, and file privacy. You can also upgrade to a monthly plan for expanded storage.
5. Automatically guard sensitive information with Azure Information Protection
Azure Information Protection (AIP) from Microsoft is a cloud-based tool that automatically encrypts emails and files. The system is managed across all Office applications using labels, which are configured to detect sensitive data and protect it. For example, if a credit card number is entered into an Excel spreadsheet, a rule can be set up to prompt the user to protect the information automatically.
Traditionally this can be quite difficult to set up for small businesses, but we created an Azure Information Protection for Small businesses online course to make it easy for you, regardless of whether or not you’re a techie!
6. Bring the team together with Zoom video conferencing
No matter how scattered your team is, video conferencing fosters the collaborative spirit that can otherwise be absent when working remotely. You needn’t be together to succeed together.
Zoom is a complete video conferencing service that includes high-definition online meetings, webinars, instant messaging, document sharing, whiteboards, virtual breakout rooms, calendar integration, and analytic data for meeting organisers. It can be accessed from computers and smart devices; so travelling team members can still participate!
There’s a free version with essential functionality that may be suitable for some small businesses, or there are monthly packages that include expanded features.
7. Protect your business with ESET antivirus
Malware attacks can be extremely disruptive to small businesses; leading to potential loss of files, equipment, and revenue. A high-quality antivirus is therefore essential.
ESET has a strong reputation for keeping computer equipment safe from malware, including viruses, ransomware, rootkits, worms and spyware. It’s easy to use, low in power-consumption, and backed by 30 years of experience and 110 million global users. A free trial is available, with the full version priced from £29.99 per year for one user.
8. Clean up your computer with MyDefrag
When we create files on a computer, they are broken up by a process called fragmentation; this is completely normal, and helps files to fit on a hard disk. However, repeated fragmentation makes reading and writing files a chore for your computer. Defragmentation is essentially a spring clean; a process that puts files back together, boosting your computer’s onward performance.
Windows comes with a built-in defragmentation program, but there are more efficient alternatives. MyDefrag is the best of the bunch; it works quickly and can accommodate external storage. Ultimately, this nifty little program helps your business to avoid slow equipment, repairs, and replacements. For more ways to speed up your computer’s performance, check out our free course here.
9. Cut your phone costs with VoIP
Voice over Internet Protocol, or VoIP, is the technology that facilitates phone calls via the internet. It’s cheaper to make calls by VoIP than a standard landline, and you’ll notice a huge improvement in sound clarity.
The best VoIP service for small businesses in the UK is VoipFone; it’s easy to set up, with excellent customer support, reasonable prices, and a free trial. Global businesses looking for similar features are recommended to try Ring Central or Vonage.
10. Keep on top of your finances with online invoicing
Invoicing is a critical aspect of small business management; online solutions make the process efficient by collating due payments, generating invoices, sending them, and overseeing the collection process.
Invoices contain sensitive information, so it’s important to work only with a trusted platform. Check out this post to find out how small businesses should protect their financial security when using online invoicing.
The most reputable platforms are Freshbooks, Due, Invoicera, And Co. and Harvest. All have at least one free option, whether a trial or essential version, and each has paid subscriptions, which vary in price according to the features you need.
Need help with your IT solutions or have a question on software to suit your small business? Join our free support community here.