While some might argue that today’s computerized business world creates as many problems as it solves, it’s hard to argue with the notion that computers and specialized software programs have made operating a business more efficient and productive. It’s hard to imagine a world without word processing or spreadsheet software, or programs that allow businesses of all sizes to manage their own accounting processes, desktop publishing and more.
Most business owners already know that they cannot successfully operate without these types of programs, but there are other types of software that are essential for small businesses that might not be so obvious. If you own a business and don’t have these programs on your computers, you’re missing out – and possibly endangering your business equipment and data.
File Compatibility Software
Your business computers run on Windows, while your new client uses Macs with an Apple operating system. You need to share files in order to get work done, but unless you have software that automatically converts files into compatible formats, you’ll waste a lot of time (and frustration) attempting to open files. There is software that automatically opens files in the right program, preventing you from having to purchase unnecessary software or clutter your operating system with programs you’ll hardly ever use.
Backup and Recovery Software
Your entire business is stored on your computer – everything from your customer database to the flyer you sent out for the big Christmas sale to the employee payroll records. In the event of a computer crash, a major disaster like a fire, flood or a virus that wipes out your entire hard drive, you want to have all of that crucial data backed up in a secure location. Your small business needs a software program that will automatically back up your data as you work, and provide you easy access to it whenever you need it.
And in the event that something does go wrong, you’ll be relieved if your computer is equipped with recovery software. While no program can recover every piece of missing data, if you have recovery software installed on your machine, you’ll be able to retrieve accidentally deleted files and e-mails and other data using a simple search function.
Small businesses should also consider installing a basic PC health program on their machines to keep everything running smoothly. Fragmented and temporary files, disk errors and other issues can build up over time, slowing your computer and reducing your productivity. As a small business owner you don’t have time for computer slowdowns and a PC cleanup program can keep things humming along.
Antivirus and Security Software
By now, everyone knows that antivirus software is a must for any computer, but when you are running a business, you need more than your basic antivirus/firewall setup – especially when you are handling sensitive customer and employee data. Invest in an enterprise level security program that offers antivirus and malware protection, as well as email encryption and protection for central file and data servers.
Office Suite Software
No matter what type of business you own, at some point you’ll need to create a document – a letter, a spreadsheet, an invoice or other key document – and you’ll need a way to do it. While most businesses use Microsoft Office, you have other options. Open Office is a free platform that offers most of the capabilities of Microsoft Office and will allow you to perform basic functions. Either way you choose to go, you must have software to complete important tasks.
There are many other types of software that business owners should consider installing, such as project management, collaboration and customer management programs, as well as those that help with social media, blogging, e-mail and other tasks. But if the efficiency and security of your business is a priority, and you want to protect the investment you’ve made in your equipment, it’s important for your business computers to have the right protection and productivity software.