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Entering the era of online data raises many issues for the small business operator. How best for a small business to store its data online? How can this data be kept secure? What cloud tools are best suited for SMBs? Small businesses might have a smaller amount of data, but that doesn’t mean security is a smaller concern. Try the following tools to get your small business on the cloud easily and securely.

Google Drive

Google recently rolled up its Google Documents offering into Google Drive, a sync-based cloud platform that allows you to store your documents, photos, and Google Docs across all your platforms. Google Documents can provide crucial functionality for small businesses that need a simple, free way to collaborate online. Need to work on a spreadsheet with remote team members? Google Documents allows easy document sharing and document collaboration in real-time.

Pricing: Small teams can use Google Drive for free through gmail or Google Apps.

Box

Box is a cloud data tool designed to accommodate users from individuals all the way up to large enterprises. Users can easily create data rooms for their business, build sales portals with sales materials, and access their data on their mobile devices. Box also focuses on security, helping ensure that your data will remain safe.

Pricing: $15/user/month

CloudFlare

Cloudflare is an easy-to-set-up cloud security application. You can secure your site against attacks in a matter of minutes. Merely change your DNS and CNAME settings to redirect through CloudFlare’s servers, and they take care of the rest for you. It’s easy and they have a robust free plan to get you started.

Pricing: Starts at free!

DropBox

Dropbox is the absurdly popular file sharing tool that allows you to sync your files easily across all your devices. The free plan gives you 2GB of data to use and share, and you can make referrals to get more data for free. Try it, and you’ll soon see why DropBox is so popular.

Pricing: 2 GB for free

SalesForce

SalesForce is the popular CRM tool that helps you manage your sales process. While many large organizations use SalesForce, small businesses can also take advantage of SalesForce’s capabilities. With plans starting at only $5/month, SalesForce can help you track your leads, keep abreast of your sales progress, and close sales. SalesForce also provides a helpful integration with Data.com, which allows you to buy information on potential leads and bring it directly into your CRM.

Pricing: Starts at $5/month

Basecamp

Basecamp is a popular project management and collaboration platform developed by 37Signals. It allows teams to collaborate on projects, offering such features as email notifications, group to-do lists, deadlines, and document collaboration. Basecamp focuses on design simplicity. Its ease of use makes it perfect for small businesses.

Pricing: Starts at $20/month

Asana

Asana is another project management web app. However, Asana focuses on replacing email with a shared task list. By making projects about tasks, it serves to drive action. Time is valuable for small businesses. You need to spend less time talking about work, and more time getting stuff done. Asana is a platform built to support this principle.

Pricing: Starts at free!

The proliferation of the cloud has finally empowered small businesses to manage digital resources efficiently and drive action using software. For example, earlier-generation CRM systems were costly and required painstaking set-up. Now with SalesForce, small businesses can set up a full CRM in minutes.

The cloud is changing small business technology for the better. As long as these businesses keep in mind security considerations, using the above tools can increase efficiency while requiring only a marginal investment.

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