How to: move your business to cloud computing

Make your workflow easier and more efficient with Web-based computing

A Calendar in the Cloud

A desktop calendar helps you schedule your appointments, remember important events, and keep your life in order--as long as you're in front of your PC.

A calendar that syncs to the cloud ensures that you'll always have access to your schedule. It can sync wirelessly to your smartphone, and will keep your entire schedule flawlessly in sync.

To handle the job, look no further than Google Calendar and the Google Calendar Sync plug-in for Microsoft Outlook. Once installed, the calendar can perform seamless two-way synchronization between your desktop Outlook calendar and Google Calendar.

Bonus for your phone: If you have a BlackBerry, iPhone, Nokia S60, or Windows phone, Google Sync for your phone wirelessly syncs your calendar with your device so you can check your schedule on the go, add an appointment, and rest assured that the next time you sit down at your computer, your calendar will be in perfect sync.

Contacts in the Cloud

Your contacts are the lifeblood of your business, so making sure they're always backed up, accessible from anywhere, and up-to-date is incredibly important.

If you shell out for the Google Apps Premier Edition not a bad idea if you're serious about syncing your data with Google's cloud), you also gain access to Google Apps Sync for Microsoft Outlook--a tool that deftly handles syncing of your contacts between Outlook and Google Contacts. (Unfortunately, Google supports contact sync with Outlook only with Premier accounts.)

If you don't want to commit to Google Apps Premier but you'd like to sync your Google Contacts with your Outlook contacts, check out GO Contact Sync. Want to try a non-Google app? Plaxo is an excellent online contact management service that syncs with Outlook like a charm.

Bonus for your phone: Google Contacts, like Google Calendar, syncs seamlessly with BlackBerry, iPhone, Nokia S60, and Windows phones.

Google Sync for your phone is particularly handy with contacts, especially if you often add new contacts from your phone: Transfer a contact from your phone, and Google Sync will wirelessly sync to the cloud and then back to your desktop.

Syncing Files and Folders to the Cloud

If you're not especially concerned about creating or editing files online, you may prefer to use a file-syncing application such as Dropbox or SugarSync to sync your documents to the cloud.

After installing one of these utilities on your computer, you can instantly sync and back up any file between the cloud and any computer that has the app installed on it. Thereafter, anything you add to a synced folder syncs between the Web and every desktop where you've installed it.

E-Mail in the Cloud

E-mail is exceedingly important to any business, but syncing e-mail between your desktop and the Web--whether via your company's e-mail server or a cloud service like Gmail--isn't exactly new.

If you use Gmail or Google Apps, we recommend setting up Gmail's IMAP with your desktop e-mail client to keep your desktop client and your Gmail inbox in perfect sync. (To enable IMAP in Gmail, log in and visit the Forwarding and POP/IMAP page.)

Once you've set up Gmail IMAP on your desktop, your desktop e-mail client of choice will always be in perfect sync with Gmail in your browser.

Adam Pash is the editor-in-chief of Lifehacker, a popular Website that focuses on technology, productivity, and making your computing life easier.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags cloud computing

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Adam Pash

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Armand Abogado

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

Wireless printing from my iPhone was also a handy feature, the whole experience was quick and seamless with no setup requirements - accessed through the default iOS printing menu options.

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?