Small business owners often have to wear multiple hats, juggling various tasks at once. These top 5 services can help business operate efficiently and communicate effectively.
Backup – Having a backup of your business critical data is essential for every business. Even if you use a CloudSync app such OneDrive, Google Drive, Dropbox or something else. A CloudSync service is not a backup. All businesses can be subject of a hack or ransomware. Recently we have seen ransomware attacks on organisations such as the NHS and Royal Mail but the majority of ransomware attacks are made on small businesses.
Using an external hard drive for your backup is not a solution. This approach relies on a manual method of running the backup and needs to be connected up each time. Assuming that this is done regularly, the hard drive is as vulnerable as your PC to ransomware.
The only sensible option it a secure offsite backup located in the UK. When we provide services to any business, our strong advice is to have a backup solution and a disaster recovery plan.
Microsoft 365 – The vast majority of businesses need to write letters, calculate finances, create brochures and a million and one other admin tasks. Microsoft Office has long been the market leader of office productivity software due to its ease of use, dexterity and ubiquitous nature – you send a document created in Microsoft Office and you can almost certainly expect the recipient to be able to open it. Purchasing the software outright has fallen out of favour due to the high price and the need to renew every few years. Microsoft 365 provides a low cost monthly subscription which keeps the software always current.
Email – Communicating with customers, colleagues, suppliers and others is what keeps business moving. Email has long been the preferred method of communication. A business email service should be cloud based and accessible on all devices. Your email solution should include virus and malware filtering, webmail option, logging options and support. For email services that require compliance and UK hosting we offer cloud hosted Zimbra Collaboration or for integration with Teams and other Office apps, we provide Microsoft 365 Exchange.
Unified Communication – integrating your phone system, team chat, call recording, and web meeting allows for better communication flows in your business. A cloud hosted VoIP system includes all of these features and are accessible from anywhere that you have Internect connectivity. A Unified Communication system should include a mobile app. Such systems are widely available but the difference between providers are often the quality of service. When done badly, VoIP can deliver a voice service that suffers from dropped calls, stutter and outages. At TST, a lot of investment has been made in the infrastructure to ensure the best in service delivery. We have two VoIP platforms, namely, 3CX and TST Digital Voice.
Broadband – Broadband is so important to businesses and homes that it is regarded as a utility along with other critical services such as water and electricity. Not all broadband services are business grade and there is a wide range of connectivity methods that deliver different levels of stability and speeds. Leased lines are dedicated connections that provide the best security and speed but are the most expensive. Fibre to the Premises (FTTP) provides the best value with excellent speed. In 2024 traditional phone (PSTN) services are ending in the UK. The switch to digital only connections means ADSL and Fibre to the Cabinet (FTTC) will no longer be available. The switch off will mean millions of connections will need to be changed over to digital connections (SOGEA, FTTP, G Fast or leased line). Whichever service you choose, it is vital that you select a reliable supplier with excellent support.
Running a small business is tough and demanding but getting the right services from the start can make it easier. Being able to access help and support when things go wrong (and they will go wrong) can make the difference between getting back up running quickly and hours/days of frustration.