15 Free Online Tools to Build Your Personal Cloud
Whatever type of business you are running, some of the best and most useful tools are found online, and allow you to manage multiple aspects of your business online. In particular, software and online tools that allow you to manage communications, documents and more “in the cloud” are a lifesaver.
Cloud-based software helps you avoid storing and lugging around boxes of paperwork, ends the problem of finding or losing paperwork, and allows for easy sharing of documents. Here are 15 of the best online tools for building your personal cloud:
When it comes to document storage, you have a myriad of options, and many of them are free — up to a point. Here are some good choices that allow you to store and share documents, and in many cases, edit and make notes.
1. Google Drive
Google Drive offers 15 Gigabytes of free storage. You can store Google Docs, sheets and slides in the cloud for free. If you need more storage, you can get it for a nominal monthly fee. While not everyone is a fan, it does provide an easy to use tool for document sharing and editing.
Dropbox is free and easy to use, however, it does not provide nearly as much free storage as Google Drive. At only 2 Gigs, you will run out of room quickly.
With 100 Gigs of free storage, Degoo is undoubtably one of the most generous free cloud storage tools, however it doesn’t offer the same level of editing that Google Drive does, so that’s a trade-off. For pure storage purposes, though, you can’t beat it.
This is more than just storage, it offers full document management. You can scan, store and print documents and save them to the cloud. This is ideal for high-volume businesses that need a flexible and secure way to store and manage documents.
Project management software is something you will wonder how you lived without. A good project management software allows you to create projects, assign duties, allow for smooth communication and collaboration. It’s a good idea to research the current cloud-based offerings — there are plenty of them. Ask yourself what you need in terms of volume, security, mobile access and number of projects. Here are a few you may want to start with:
Trello has plenty of fans who love the visual appeal of this project management tool. It is flexible and easy-to-use, although it lacks some features you may want, such as time-tracking capabilities. It’s free to use, however, depending on the number of users and the scope of your projects, you may want to upgrade it.
Another popular tool, Asana also offers a free version of their cloud-based project management software. From organizing tasks to running meetings to creating agendas, Asana is a powerful and flexible tool that is free to use, but also allows for upgrades based on need.
Slack is an efficient tool, and while it doesn’t have all the features that Asana offers, it is perfect for team communication. It has a user-friendly instant messaging and chat system and makes internal emails a thing of the past. Slack also has the ability to separate information into categories and allows for private messages and chats.
Another good, free task management tool is Producteev. Perfect for those working with freelancers and virtual assistants, this is a great way to assign tasks, set deadlines and keep things organized.
Another free online project management alternative is Freedcamp. It’s a comprehensive tool that allows you to track all types of projects, and helps keep things organized, free-flowing and on task.
Take your accounting and financial matters to the cloud with some great tools that help you manage invoices, billing, tracking and more.
Freshbooks offers a free trial that allows you to see for yourself if this cloud-based software is right for you. This software gets good reviews, and is an easy way to manage invoices.
This is a free cloud-based software and an alternative to Quickbooks. Waveapps is best for small businesses, and provides a friendly interface and plenty of support.
Other Cloud-Based Tools To Take Advantage Of
Don’t overlook this gem. Evernote is flexible, can allow for collaboration, offers ways to capture and store documents, and provides a ton of note-taking, list-making and organizational tools. Most of the features are free, and you can upgrade as you need to.
Buffer is a social media management app that can help you better manage sharing and tracking your social media activities. This is a good tool for those who are trying to juggle multiple social media channels in an effort to build their inbound marketing strategies.
Another free tool, IFTTT is great for connecting apps of all kinds, including social media and tools like Trello, Slack, Google Drive and Evernote. There are tons of “recipes” that allow you to automate actions and save time.
This is a comprehensive cloud-based tool that puts a ton of apps, services and functionality at your fingertips. From invoicing to project management to order management, Apptivo is a great free tool for your business.
What Tools Do You Need?
You may not need project management tools or fancy sales tools, but most companies require some type of document storage. Going paperless makes sense, especially when you have the option to print at will, and store what you need for easy access later. Tools like Ademero are ideal for this. Communication tools are also important, and you may need to find a few before you find one that works for you. For some businesses, in-house software is fine, but with the prevalence of dispersed teams, outsourcing and collaboration we are seeing today, a platform that allows for greater connectivity regardless of location is ideal. It helps connect teams, associates, clients and providers in ways that weren’t possible in the past. Try out some of these tools and see if they are right for you.