In the virtual business world, most employees and clients, if not all have never set foot in your office—if you even have a physical office space to begin with. A greater number of companies are moving in the direction of virtual offices which only exist online.
Even in a virtual business it is still essential—if not more essential to keep employees communicating, sharing progress and updating co-workers and team members on progress on a regular basis.
Additionally, it’s just as important to keep company data secure and clients comfortable in their relationships with you.
What connectivity tools are essential?
The size of your team can effect which tools work best for your company, but many virtual businesses use online platforms for meetings and quick discussions. Generally, the only items necessary is a valid login for the site of your choice and webcam and up to ten people can be invited to join.
Staff can share project information verbally and visually all while maintaining on-screen contact through webcams through interactive connectivity tools and make corrections or additions as necessary.
Some businesses like to also use a voice call feature for some of their communication, although, for local calls mobile plans often are more cost effective and for international calling virtual call forwarding has become the popular choice especially for clients communications or for international employees. Local numbers can be purchased by your company and the calls can be forwarded to a specific team member, multiple members or call centers based on your company’s specific needs.
If your company does a number of group projects there are a number of apps available for housing team documents, presentations, checklists, budgets and agendas. Depending on the app used they are cloud based and can be accessed through a variety of media including smartphones, tablets and PCs. If your team is concerned about connectivity issues, make sure the service you select allows for a variety of media to connect and synchronize.
What do you do with all your data?
Cloud storage has exploded recently, with the market expanding well beyond the few well-known primary storage tools, namely Google Drive and Dropbox.
However, as a virtual company, secure storage is critical and although the basic features of online storage are generally very similar and straightforward, the amount of storage available, sync-ability and other features can vary.
Companies have a variety of selections to choose their services from and before investing in a specific service determine what your company needs are. Do you want sophisticated tools like password protection and document permissions and statistic and tracking features?
Is employee monitoring an important feature?
Additionally, keep in mind it can be difficult or impossible to sync data across multiple platforms depending on the apps you select.
If you prefer flexibility, look for a company that will allow you to sync data among a variety of platforms and devices.
How do you keep your data secure?
If you’re using a cloud service provider, you’re essentially handing off most of the data-security responsibility to your provider, however, that doesn’t mean you should become complacent.
Require all employees to use strong passwords and discourage the re-use of passwords that have been previously used on other sites or applications either individually or as a company. If it’s an option always opt for authentication or ‘2 step verification’.
Keep in mind, however, if you’re storing data on the cloud it is never completely secure. For example, if you become involved in legal matters and choose to fight something like a subpoena, it’s possible the cloud company will comply and hand over your data.
Regardless of the tools you use, if you decide to take your business virtual the most important aspect to remember is your communication with clients and staff is essential to maintaining and growing your company. Extensive product research is necessary before making any product selections, and it’s important that your staff is trained to use all the tools provided to them.