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July 16, 2010
By David Friend, CEO at Carbonite Online Backup

Carbonite Online Data Backup Expert Tips: How a Cloud Can Brighten Business for Smaller Companies

America’s small-business owners always have been very resourceful in running lean companies, and their ability to integrate lighter, less costly methods into their operations today extends to the way they use technology. Businesses are calling on efficient Web-based services and applications to communicate, create documents, manage their accounting, track customer relationships, and handle all sorts of other business needs that they once carried out in their back offices.

These online services and applications, collectively called “cloud” computing, provide small businesses with many of the features that once were available only to larger companies. For example, companies like Microsoft, Google and Yahoo! variously offer cloud-based applications that range from e-mail and calendars to word processing, spreadsheets and presentation programs. Using online applications can provide real benefits to small businesses including increased productivity, cost savings and flexibility.

Small to midsize companies often must spend time on training new employees that executives would rather spend on more productive activities. Many companies, therefore, now store their training manuals, videos and presentations online, where new employees, equipped with a company-supplied password, can review them even before day one of their work schedule. This system saves time for executives and gets new staff up and ready for productive work faster than conventional methods.

One of the latest lean techniques businesses are adopting is the use of “lightweight” online services for backing up the data on their PCs. Information backup frequently has been a difficult chore for small businesses. While these companies often use individual PCs, rather than a centralized server, early backup services were geared to a server-based world. If they wanted to back up the business documents from their PCs, managers and employees had to connect their laptops to the server and usually leave them in the office overnight for a batch back-up session during off-hours. That meant they couldn’t work on their computers from home.

The use of servers also often means the need for IT personnel to maintain them. Small businesses frequently don’t have the resources required to support an IT operation, however, so backup has been a hit-or-miss operation over the years, with employees putting their backup files on tape or disk and sending them off to a safe deposit box.

The demand for a lean, small-business-oriented file backup service, however, now has produced a new, lightweight service available via subscription through the Web, like our Carbonite Pro product. This latest technology backs up files at the time they are created, directly from each PC in the office. Personnel need no technical knowledge to use this kind of service, so they can focus on their business instead of puzzling over their technology.

With these kinds of online capabilities available, small businesses have more opportunities to compete in a growing marketplace. Business owners often can get the most from their technology investments, with the least possible overhead, with online services designed specifically for small businesses.

About the Author

David Friend has been a successful technology entrepreneur for more than 25 years and recently was selected for his lifetime of achievements as a 2010 Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year recipient. He previously co-founded five companies: Sonexis, FaxNet, Pilot Software, Computer Pictures Corporation and ARP Instruments. He has been featured in USA Today, Tech Capital, The Boston Globe, Mass HiTech, Fortune, Forbes and Tom Peter’s best-selling management book, The Pursuit of Wow!

David has been a lecturer at MIT’s Sloan School of Management and is an active supporter of music and the arts in Boston. He is a trustee (emeritus) of the New England Conservatory, Berklee College of Music, and the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C.

David holds a bachelor’s degree in engineering from Yale University and attended the Princeton University Graduate School of Engineering where he was a David Sarnoff Fellow. He is an avid marathoner, distance cyclist, windsurfer, and hiker.

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