Technology & Innovation

12 Oct 2020

Working from Home - The next wave of cloud computing - updated

Working from home is still the norm for some of us and our teams. While businesses in the UAE are getting back to full capacity, many of them are being flexible about allowing some of their teams to still work remotely. In addition, many of them need to communicate with business partners and other offices globally but as global travel restrictions make some of these offices inaccessible, companies must find ways to keep operations working worldwide.

One of the first elements of using cloud computing at home is finding the right services that benefit users. This may mean sifting through a series of cloud software offers. Some cloud computing personal services are more accessible—for example, Microsoft offers aspects of cloud computing in its Office 365 and other packages. For other more specific cloud services, users may have to read through service specifications to figure out if a cloud offer is right for them.

Users can also look at service level agreements to understand what level of service is guaranteed, and what they can expect from a cloud vendor.

Typically, there's not a lot of technical work in implementing cloud computing systems at home. Users will generally need to install software or do other detailed technical work. Many personal cloud packages can be bought quickly and easily with a credit card, the same way that you would buy anything online. Users may have to fill out personal profiles or surveys related to the service, which can take some time. 

So here are some of the resources we thought we would share for you to check and find the one that suits you best.

Collaboration and documentation

For everyday use, applications like Microsoft 365 or Google Apps or Zoho are some of the most commonly used platforms, accessed by users both at the small business level and personal use. Packages with these platforms start at US$5 per user and give you access to applications that do similar tasks from creating documents, excel sheets, presentations, and come with storage that allows you to collaborate and store. 

In addition, Amazon Web Services (AWS) also offer infrastructure options starting with their free option that allows you to set up communications as well as other IT infrastructure options that might be required to be extended to teams working from home. You could check out some of the other big names like Microsoft, IBM and Oracle to see what they have to offer for smaller businesses or check with your local Telco like Etisalat to see what they have on offer.

Storage and sharing

While Microsoft (One Drive) and Google (Drive) offer storage as part of their packages, you might want to explore other cloud options for storage and sharing, (saves having to use services like We Transfer). Check out Dropbox that makes it easier to not only store and share but give you options for collaboration too. There are apps for this on both Android and IOS and allow you access on the move too. Other storage options include Box and Amazon Drive among others that offer storage and app options for Android and IOS.

CRM

While the bigger companies can work with the SAPs, Infors and others in the same ilk, there are cloud-based CRM services that offer free and more affordable options for smaller businesses to give access to their teams from home. From Hubspot to Salesforce to Zoho CRM to Microsoft Access, most of these platforms allow you to update and keep track of business deals, capitalise on sales opportunities and reach out to your ecosystem to keep the communications lines open.

In addition to all the above options, there are now several “as-a-service” platforms that are helping businesses work from anywhere.