25 Best Business Software Tools and Web Services

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Project Management


Build complicated project timelines, to-do lists, and message boards, and share files among your team members-all via one simple-to-use Web tool. Basecamp can keep all your workers on task while letting everyone else know what other team members are up to. It can even track project time on a per-member basis, for creating detailed billing and reports when the job is done. ($24 to $149 per month, depending on number of projects managed)

Remote Access/Syncing


If all you need is occasional access to a single PC that isn't within walking distance, you can get by with this simple remote-access tool. LogMeIn lets you quickly connect to your office computer to grab a file or check an application you don't have on your laptop, all via any computer with a Web browser. (free to $20 per month)


If you regularly use more than one computer, keeping track of which machine has which version of which report can get a little confusing. The solution: Synchronize the PCs so you can ensure they're all up-to-the-minute, while protecting yourself in the event you made different changes to the same file on more than one PC. Unlike most traditional sync software, Syncplicity works over the Web, so you can sync from anywhere. (free for 2GB limit, to $10 per month for 40GB limit)

Security Suite

Avira's antivirus packages start with a free version for individual PCs.
Avira AntiVir

Yes, you need to protect your business with a solid antivirus package, but big-name, enterprise-level protection can be really expensive. At its most basic, Avira offers security for individual PCs for free (if you're willing to deal with one ad pop-up per day); but if you need protection for file and mail servers or other central services, Avira can provide such tools as well, for a generally reasonable price. (pricing varies by protection level)

Social Networking

LinkedIn is a social networking service for business.

When it comes to finding employees, contractors, service providers, and even outsourcing partners, LinkedIn has proven to be an invaluable tool for many businesses. But the real beauty of LinkedIn is something that becomes apparent only with use and time: As you expand your network--recommending other businesses, and otherwise participating--you may find that other LinkedIn users are recommending your business, as well. In addition, a Q&A system lets you ask for general advice on all matters business. (free, up to $50 per month for premium services)

Task Manager

Chandler is a free, easy-to-use task manager.

Post-it notes and day planners are so 1988. Get your schedule, brainstorming notes, to-do lists, and just about anything else you have tacked up around your office into one place--your PC, that is--with Chandler. This free, open-source application gives you deep control over your day while still being easy enough to use that you'll never have to crack the manual. (free)


Skype for Business

Spend megabucks on your own PBX (private branch exchange), or spend nothing for a voice-over-IP setup like Skype for Business? If you're on a shoestring, the answer is clear. Sure, Skype can't easily handle things if, say, you want to run a tech support call center out of your basement. But for modest calling needs-especially if you place a lot of international calls-Skype is a solid and hugely affordable choice. (free software; subscription up to $9.95 per month for unlimited international plans)


LogMeIn Hamachi

There's no need to set up complicated VPN (virtual private network) servers to give remote users secure access to the corporate network: Hamachi (which recently became part of LogMeIn) does the job with managed peer-to-peer technology, so no centralized VPN server is necessary. It's easy to set up, easy on the budget, and your subscription gets you LogMeIn's remote desktop system, too. ($5 per month)

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