Welcome to a new ongoing Vistage series on featured technologies. We will be highlighting two great tools for small business with every post in this series. With the advancement of mobile technologies every week I will feature one website or software and one mobile application. I’m going to try to keep my features to tools that are at the lower end of the cost spectrum, and if at all possible, free. You can expect high-level reviews with an explanation of the potential business impact; when relevant I will also include links to how to use the tools.
Featured Tool: Dropbox (https://www.dropbox.com/)
Dropbox has got to be my favorite discovery of the last few years. I can’t imagine my life without my Dropbox account. In fact I set one up for our Marketing department to use.
So what is a Dropbox and how can it help your business? By keeping you running when nothing else will. You’ve seen those Verizon commercials where the guy forgets his laptop in the cab but his handy phone can receive e-mail so he gets his presentation and takes over the world? (That’s my recollection, anyway.) Well, imagine he forgets his laptop in the cab, his cell phone falls in a drain, everyone at his office is out at happy hour, the Internet at his office is down, and nobody is answering their cell phone—what can he do now?
Dropbox is the answer! If he has Dropbox he can just log into his account from ANY computer with an Internet connection and download his file. Not only that but if he changes the file he can save it back to his account and as soon as the Internet is back up at his office the changes will be pushed out to there. Does he also keep a copy of his Dropbox folder at home? No worries, changes sync in every direction and there is no limit to the number of places you can set up with your Dropbox account. Dropbox is a neat combination between cloud file storage and file sync.
Oh, and DID I MENTION IT’S FREE TO SETUP A 2GB DROPBOX? And that is just the beginning; let me share some other features with you.
- Sync between Mac, Windows and Linux
- Work on changes you make while not online; as soon as you’re online they sync
- Let you share folders with multiple people
- Let you create a public folder so that you can send links to files
- Can be set up as an automatic backup so that you can undelete files and folders or restore versions up to 30 days old
- Offer a web interface for you to access your files from any computer with an Internet connection, SECURELY
- Transmit all data with a secure encrypted AES-256 connection, so it’s HIPPA compliant which protects your privacy, and that of your customers, if you store and access files that are sensitive.
Featured App: Dropbox (iPhone, Droid available now, Blackberry coming soon)
Yes, I know that’s not very creative to feature the app for the same website, but aren’t you glad to know that you can extend the same great access to files to your mobile device?
As if all the features above weren’t enough now you can even access your files from your iPhone or Droid. You can view the files directly within the Dropbox app or if you want you can export the files to another app on the phone. For instance on my iPhone, I have DocsToGo, an editor for MS Office files so I can take the Excel report that I regularly work on and update it right from my phone, then sync it back to my Dropbox account when I’m done.
The mobile features don’t stop there, because you can:
- “Favorite” files for quick access
- Use your iPhone camera to take photos and videos and save them directly to your Dropbox
- Send links for quick access to your files right from your phone
- Save attachments right to your Dropbox from your iPhone for quick access
Combine these two items and you now have a new tool to help you stay on top of your business, protect your business files and remove any roadblocks that may come up on the road.