As far as tech gadgets are concerned, it seems like iPhones and BlackBerrys have all the popularity. But in the world of small-business owners (and consumers), netbook computers, with prices below $500, are increasingly popular.
They're small, affordable and functional--once you get used to the small screens and keyboards. As your company is looking into what technology to invest in, consider issuing a netbook with wireless broadband to every employee who travels.
For the last two weeks, I've been using hosted applications exclusively, and in some ways, the experience is better than using software. One thing's for sure: There's a lot less to backup.
The benefit of using a netbook with hosted applications is that the netbook becomes an almost disposal appliance, like a cell phone. If it's lost or stolen, there's no worry about data being compromised. As long as the user has access to the internet, they can access all the applications they need online.
In some scenarios, using traditional software is a must. For example, try editing or viewing more than a handful of photographs online. It's too slow.
We live in a world still dominated by Microsoft Office applications. So, depending on your employees' day-to-day work, they might have to use Word, PowerPoint or Excel and save the file to a local hard disk. But having it automatically backed up to a server or using a system such as eGnyte will ensure that everything saved to the local drive is instantly available online and easily shared with their colleagues.
It's very important that you ensure your company can also harness the world of wireless mobility and hosted applications. Your traditional server can provide remote file access or, using services such as Box.net, HyperOffice, WebEx and other solutions, you can pay a low monthly fee and have file sharing features, collaboration and so much more.
Ramon Ray is Entrepreneur.com's "Tech Basics" columnist and editor of Smallbiztechnology.com. He's the author ofTechnology Solutions for Growing Businesses and serves on the board of directors and the technology committee for the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce.