Small Business Expert
Essential hints, tips & business advice for startups & entrepreneurs.
As the economy faltered in the late Aughts, many American businesses began to favor cloud computing. That’s not a coincidence. These services let users access servers, applications, storage space, and lots more via the web or a small downloadable desktop file. There’s no need to buy, install, upgrade, or maintain software, nor is it necessary to pair up such solutions with top-of-the-line PCs: the application data and software is stored at a remote server, and streamed to the users’ computers.
If you have your own business, particularly a small business, you might want to consider looking to the Internet instead of spending money and resources on programs. Here are five of the best cloud computing services for businesses.
Google Apps for Business – Whatever you need to help your employees (or yourself) get the job done, Google probably has an app that you can access for free, or for a small fee. Google Apps for Businesses provide web-based emails, calendars, storage, and document management, and it’s all secure and simple to use. You can try out Google Apps for Business free for thirty days.
Dropbox – Dropbox is a file-hosting service that offers storage and client applications. You can store your documents, pictures, and videos, then bring them up anywhere at any time on any PC, or even smartphones and tablets.
Rackspace – With Rackspace, you can “rent” as much cloud server space as you need for file and application storage. There’s no long-term contract, you only pay for what you use, and you’re not responsible for managing the server itself.
Amazon Web Services – Amazon Web Services offers pay-as-you-go application hosting, storage, backup, and database solutions. It’s a favorite as far as cloud-based computing services go, and its popularity is growing rapidly.
Windows Azure – Azure gives its users access to web applications. It’s had a bit of a rough start, as some of its big-name clients have jumped ship, but mainstream cloud technology is still young. It’ll be interesting to see how Azure rises to challenge its competition.
Need to find more information about good cloud-based computing services? Read:
5 of the Best Cloud Computing Services at Telegraph
Today’s video game systems do much, much more than simply play games—they can, among other things, stream movies, television shows, and generally offer up a whole lot of affordable alternatives to cable and/or a full-blown movie night. So how do you watch movies and television (including live TV programs delivered via streaming video) on your Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3?
It’s easy. Streaming your favorite fare to your video game console is often as easy as making a couple of selections on the system’s main menu. Even better, many streaming services also let you take your movies and shows to tablets and PC! Note that streaming video content requires a broadband internet connection.
Here’s how you can watch your favorite programs and movies on your Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3. Keep in mind that some of these services are currently only available in the United States.
Hulu Plus – For a small monthly subscription fee, Hulu Plus grants you access to full seasons of television shows produced by FOX, ABC, NBC, and other studios. To utilize Hulu Plus on the Xbox 360, you need an Xbox Live Gold account.
Netflix – Netflix is one of the strongest players in the movie streaming business, and for a monthly fee, you can gain access to Netflix’s massive movie library on your Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3. In order to use the Netflix app on Xbox 360, you need an Xbox Live Gold account.
Vevo – Feeling nostalgic for some music videos? With Vevo, you can access a music video library that numbers over 45,000 entries. Vevo is coming soon to the PlayStation 3, but it’s free on the xbox 360—provided (again) that you have an Xbox Live Gold account.
Amazon Instant Video – With Amazon Instant Video, you can watch your favorite TV shows and movies through your Xbox 360 and your PlayStation 3. If you have an Xbox 360, you can browse Amazon’s selection and watch trailers for free, but an Xbox Live Gold account is required if you want to actually stream any content.
YouTube TV – Finally, the Internet’s favorite video portal, YouTube, is accessible via the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. Try out YouTube TV for instant access to free web series and user-uploaded videos.