UPTOWN Professional Jan 10, 2011

Virtual Office

Tech: Virtual OfficeCloud computing is a powerful technological development that is saving businesses large and small the cost of supporting ever- expanding hardware and software. Many companies have been able to shutter their brick and mortar spaces and send their employees into the clouds.

Essentially, cloud computing is internet-based computing. If you use Yahoo or Google for mail or sharing documents or make video calls using Skype or Yahoo you are already in the clouds. As long as you have your cloud access codes, you don’t need to report back to an office to get to mail or calendars or documents from a desk pc or laptop. All of that can be stored on line – and in many instances accessed through your smartphone.

A company’s work group, for example, can store and share work using a free service or by subscribing to online document repositories such as Google Docs or Squidoo. For the boss there’s no more time spent rebooting, backing up and diagnosing equipment failures and patching glitches in software. All of that is the province of free or subscription based online services like Microsoft SharePoint, SkyDrive, Documentum or Salesforce.com.

For virtual office phone systems, hosted PBX platforms may be the solution. Some other options include Onebox, Toktumi.com, RingCentral and 8×8. For online meetings, services such as WebEx, GoToMeeting, and Toktumi.com give you what you need. Have to fax? Do it online. Maxemail, Fax.com and Toktumi.com await in the clouds.