You’ve heard it time and time again: the cloud is the future. But were you aware of all the companies already using it? Listed below, in no specific order is part 1 of our favorite free cloud-based companies that you should be using. Some are geared toward businesses, and others are suited for both business and personal use.
1. Slack launched in 2013, and has rapidly become one of the most popular instant messaging tools currently available; reaching number 2 on Forbes Cloud 100 list. This tool, which is now being heavily utilized in the business world, is a way for teams to collaborate and work together from anywhere (with a goal to send fewer emails). Many topics discussed by coworkers throughout the day are just that, discussions. Emails are typically for tasks, or reminders, not conversations. Slack, which is the acronym for "Searchable Log of All Conversation and Knowledge" allows users to have conversations that are stored and searchable (you can search for files, conversations and users) at any time. With chat rooms (channels) that can be organized by topic, private groups, and direct private messaging, there is an avenue for every type of conversation needed. The free plan is great for personal use, or for business use with small teams, and data that does not need to be stored indefinitely. This is because Slack only stores the most recent 10,000 messages. Additionally, with the free plan users can have 1-to-1 video calls and up to 10 apps and integrations. The paid plans offer unlimited storage, group calls, guest accounts and more useful features (especially for large organizations). Why do we recommend it? For us personally it has made group collaboration faster and more efficient, our inboxes less cluttered, and it allows our employees in different offices to stay connected to each other.
2. Dropbox was founded in 2007 and has quickly moved through the ranks to become a top-tier file hosting service. The company offers users cloud storage for their data on smart phones, tablets and computers. Their free version allows users to store up to 2GB of data with the possibility of increasing that up to 16GB through their referral program. They also have paid plans for individual use and business use. Individual plans can utilize up to 2TB of space, while paid business plans have unlimited storage space, and a payment plan that is “per user”, so you only pay for how many employees are using it. Why we recommend Dropbox? It’s ease of use and cross platform availability make it appealing to the masses.
3. Evernote (82nd on the Cloud 100 list) was created to help its users remain organized. From the time we wake up, until the time we go to sleep, a constant stream of information is flowing through our brains. This means that sometimes tasks or ideas can be forgotten, causing us to drop-the-ball in our professional or personal lives. Additionally, Evernote set out to be an extension of the brain and help individuals and teams work better and more efficiently. It is a cloud-based software service that allows users to create, organize, and store various media files. Evernote’s free plan is the most basic, but is great for those that only need help remembering their ideas and to-do list within a centralized location. There are data limits in the free plan, but if you are only using it for the aforementioned reasons, then it should be enough. The paid plans are geared more towards businesses that need collaboration and integration tools. Why we love it? As a tech company we love anything that makes us more efficient and agile. Evernote ensures that we can work together or alone, never missing a beat, or having to worry about forgetting a task.
4. Zoom (2nd on the Cloud 100 list) is a cloud-based company that offers remote conferencing, chat, mobile collaboration and online meeting services to its users. Founded in 2011 and launched in 2013, Zoom gained one million participants in its first 4 months; and by 2015 had over 40 million individual users. Zoom offers its users many features that make conference calls, webinars, team meetings, etc. more efficient. The free plan provides users a lot to work with, and those on this plan have: the ability to host up to 100 participants, unlimited 1 to 1 meetings, 40-minute group meetings, online support and more. Of course, if you work for an organization that will use this tool regularly, and for things like webinars or long conference calls then one of the 3 paid plans may be more suited for you. Why we love it? For one, it has allowed our employees to hold meetings together, seamlessly passing the baton of “host” to share their screens and lead the presentations. It also allows users to save every meeting to cloud or local storage, which allows the host and participants to focus on the meeting and go back to reference it later for notes or missed information. Plus, they offer compliance to the healthcare industry, and we love to work with companies that have compliant offerings. Essentially, Zoom has helped us run our meetings more effectively and has many innovative features to utilize.
So, that is part 1 of our favorite free cloud-based companies. Some of them you may use already, and others may be new to you. Hopefully this list conveys to you that some of the biggest, most innovative and cutting-edge companies are cloud-based. This allows them to be agile, and scale quickly while keeping data safe. It’s easy to think that the cloud is just for massive corporations, but all of the companies on this list are relatively new and were start-ups not that long ago. While the cloud is great for large organizations, small to medium sized businesses (SMB’s) can really benefit from a move to the cloud, as the transition allows them to scale faster and compete easier with the big fish.
If you have questions about the cloud and if it is right for your organization, reach out. As Florida’s predictable cloud provider, we strive to deliver peace of mind to our customers so that they can focus on their business, and not the technology that runs it. When you’re ready we can easily and seamlessly transition you to a secure, compliant, high performance cloud that allows you to compete on an even playing field.