5 Essential Technology Tools to Include in Your Budget

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We’ve all heard the phrase “you have to spend money to make money,” and while it may be accurate to some extent, small businesses also have to keep a close eye on their budgets. As you establish your technology allowance and evaluate tools to help grow your business, consider these five items as absolute essentials.

  1. A Comprehensive Business VoIP Phone Service

Like printers or fax machines, business phone services have a bad reputation for being complicated and unreliable at the most crucial times. However, thanks to advances in technology, that couldn’t be further from the truth. For something so crucial to business operations, make sure your budget leaves room for a dependable and all-inclusive phone system.

Frontier Business Edge offers a Business VoIP Phone service with unified communication and collaboration tools—like instant messaging and automated attendants—to maximize your team’s productivity. As it’s a Cloud-based system, you’ll find it easy to deploy and integrate with other tools. And with support available 24/7, you can spend less time troubleshooting issues and instead focus on your business.

  1. A Secure Cloud Storage Solution

There’s a reason 93% of small businesses in the United States back up some portion of their data to the Cloud: it’s a reliable, secure, and accessible solution. Should your hard drive crash without some sort of Cloud backup, you could permanently lose data or files. Cloud storage also makes it easier for your team to share large files, collaborate on projects, and access information at all times from any location and any computer.

There are numerous Cloud platforms available. If you already use Google for your business email, Google Drive syncs nicely. ADrive is another great option for businesses, as it features enhanced security and file history recovery. And for those interested in more comprehensive Cloud solutions, Frontier Business Edge has flexible managed IT and hosting offerings, including Software as a Service (SaaS), Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), and Business Continuity as a Service (BCaaS).

  1. A Simple Expense Tracking System

It can be hard to track small business expenses like lunches or cabs, especially if multiple employees have to run errands or travel on the company’s dime. Technology can help keep these items organized and make them more easily trackable than collecting printed receipts and storing them in a folder.

Expense report software—like Concur, Expensify, and Xpenditure—makes it easy for you and your employees to scan receipts or add cash expenses from your phones. From one dashboard, your finance team can oversee and manage costs and analyze billing patterns, helping you save time and money.

  1. A Collaborative Project Management App

“Productivity” is every small-business owner’s favorite word around the office. And the more you can rely on technology to encourage organization and efficiency, the better chance your team has to achieve more in less time and with less stress.

There are hundreds of project management apps, but Dapulse and Trello are two of the most popular among small businesses, thanks to their affordable pricing, user-friendly dashboards, and flexible features. Both technologies allow teams to create projects, assign tasks, collaborate on different plan phases, and easily track progress from the first to the last steps. Whether you manage multiple direct reports or want to know what various departments are currently working on, these project management tools can give you a clear and customizable snapshot.

  1. An Up-to-Date Security Package

When 43% of business-targeted cyber attacks are directed toward SMBs, it’s essential to take the proper precautions to safeguard your computers and server so hackers can’t access private information or destroy files saved on your network.

A strong firewall and an antivirus program are both key elements in your defense against cyber attacks, malware, and phishing. The firewall serves as a filter to keep threats out, while the antivirus software regularly scans the computer for suspicious activity. Frontier Business Edge offers several security options that bundle this dual protection with active tech support to keep things running smoothly.

Software, tools, and apps can quickly add up in price, but consider these five items as non-negotiable essentials necessary to improve your business. If your budget is tight, find other areas where you can cut back and invest in a highly rated and comprehensive VoIP phone service, Cloud storage, expense tracking systems, project management apps, and security software. Try out one of these tools today and see how they revolutionize your business. Then, reach out to us on Twitter at @FrontierBiz to share your successes or other recommendations.

Melissa Darcey is a freelance writer whose work has been featured in a number of technology, lifestyle, and business publications.

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