Cloud technologies can help you go green
Whether looking to save the environment or just some cash, cloud technologies have risen in prominence in the business place, and there are hundreds of tools available at your fingertips.
Independent research firm NextAdvisor.com‘s Editor Polina Polishchuk notes there are several fascinating ways to make your business more green through the cloud:
Letting your employees work from home from time to time helps preserve the environment by saving energy and petroleum consumption, in addition to reducing pollution and highway congestion. And telecommuting is not as inconvenient as it used to be. Here are a couple cloud services that can help your business run smoothly when you and your employees are away from the office:
2. Online meeting software:
Online meeting software is extremely useful for companies that host a lot of meetings, especially those who need employees to travel long distances. In addition to video conferencing, these services provide collaborative tools such as real-time document sharing and editing, white boarding and screen sharing. With an online meeting service, there is no need to come in to the office just to join a meeting – you can join straight from your home computer and, with select services like Adobe Acrobat Connect Pro and Cisco’s WebEx, from your iPhone and iPad.
3. Remote desktop programs:
Another way to help the environment by allowing your employees to occasionally work from home is to use remote desktop programs. This software allows users to access one computer from another, so you can work on your office computer from your laptop, seamlessly, without wasting any energy or gas. Top services include GoToMyPC, which uses your browser and has a very user-friendly interface for PC and Mac, and Radmin, which is inexpensive and feature-filled, but Mac users will need to look elsewhere.
4. Cloud storage services:
Useful in any office, cloud storage is an affordable and helpful tool whether your employees travel or not. If you’re at home or on vacation and need to access a file from your work computer, no problem – cloud storage services sync your files across all of your devices and on the web. This allows you to access and edit important files no matter where you are; all you need is an Internet connection. This is the ultimate telecommuting tool, especially because many of these services, like SugarSync and Mozy Stash, have excellent sharing and collaboration tools so you can work with your colleagues out of the office.
Cloud storage is also a great step towards a paper-less office. You can back up and store files online, instead of printing out hard documents and wasting paper. It is also encrypted, confidential and a great way to get organized.
5. Virtual phone services:
If you need your employees to answer client phone calls while they’re out of the office, virtual phone service is an easy-to-use and professional option for you. Your business will have one phone number with a virtual attendant who will forward calls to the appropriate extension. These calls can be forwarded to you and your employee’s cell phones and home phones. eVoice and RingCentral are both affordable virtual phone services with excellent user interfaces. If you’re looking for an unlimited number of extensions, Phone.com is a great choice as well.
6. Internet Fax:
Faxing uses a lot of paper, and it’s no secret that most of these paper documents are often left around, untouched and wasted. If you’re looking for a solution to cut down paper waste in the office, Internet fax can help. With Internet fax, users can send and receive electronic faxes from their computer or smartphone, all you need is an Internet connection. These services use encryption and are password protected for confidentiality, and because the faxes look just as they would from a traditional fax machine, your clients won’t know the difference. Most Internet fax providers, like MetroFax, allow you to port your current fax number over to the new service, making your green transition seamless.
7. Green Web Hosting:
If you’re looking for a web host for your business’s website, try a green web hosting service. Most people don’t know that web hosting uses a lot of energy. This is because the web hosts’ servers are based in powerful data centers that generate a lot of heat. Because of this, they have to be kept cool and powered to keep the websites up, using large amounts of energy.