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25 must-have technologies for SMBs

Jeff Vance | April 30, 2013
Running a small business isn't easy. I know. I run one. As a freelance writer, I’ve learned that you need to run your writing career as if you were running a business.

18) LiquidPlanner is a cloud-based predictive project management tool designed to execute millions of schedule calibrations over the course of a project.

LiquidPlanner helps focus teams on what's most important: strategic projects and tasks and/or those with the most revenue potential. Users estimate how long a task should take (giving a range), and after searching through calendar availability, vacation time and set priorities, LiquidPlanner calculates when various tasks should be completed, giving both best- and worst-case scenarios.

When project priorities shift, LiquidPlanner automatically updates the schedule to reflect the changes. It comes with a mobile companion, so you can stay on track while on the go. Pricing starts at $29 per user per month.

Staying Secure

Security is a constant concern for small businesses. Sure, they're smaller targets than major corporations, but these days that doesn't mean much, especially when a business in Idaho may well be attacked from somewhere in China or Russia.

Moreover, like every other business, small businesses expose themselves to data breaches when employees are out of the office. One tool to help prevent this is 19) Pocket Desktop, an encrypted USB drive that stores all of your important information (files, banking info, emails, etc.) and lets you take your desktop with you and keep it secure in the process.

Remove the USB drive from, say a home PC, and you leave no trace that you were ever there, and there is nothing left over for someone to steal. A 4GB drive costs $20, while a 16GB one is $60.

Have you ever done something at a hotspot you shouldn't have? Maybe you checked your credit card account to make sure you paid your bill on time, or you logged into your bank to check your account status. On public hotspots, this is risky business.

20) Hotspot Shield combines the malware protection of an antivirus program with the privacy capabilities of a VPN. Hotspot shield encrypts your connection to a WiFi network, and you can even use it with mobile devices. The service is free if you don't mind seeing ads, or you can remove the ads and get faster service for $30 per year.

Most small business owners grant app permissions to all sorts of things. It's impossible not to these days. The problem is that this exposes tons of your personal information and could set you up for identity theft. With the cloud-based service 21) MyPermissions, small businesses can track the permissions they grant to apps and sites and remove or control those permissions. MyPermissions will notify you when new apps have been unknowingly granted access.

You can run it as a browser plug-in for your desktop and also download an app for your smartphone. The service will even email you monthly reminders to check your privacy settings. I ran it on Chrome and found that four apps that I no longer use still have access to my information. With two simple clicks, I was able to close them down.


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