5 essential cloud apps to help keep organised

The days of having just one computer for all of your work and documents are over. Nowadays, many of us have got at the least a couple of pcs – a solid desktop computer in the office, and have a laptop for travel.

Yet that’s not all. A number of us use smart phones for the internet and e-mail. And – if Apple is to be believed – in a year or two we’ll all be walking around touching and swiping the touch screens of tablet-style computers.

It becomes much easier to keep on top of your information, files, work and ideas if you start using online services which aren’t associated with an individual computer. Instead, you can access them anywhere in the world, provided that you have an internet connection. So regardless of which gizmo you’re using, you’ll still be capable of getting on with things:

Here’s the top 5 tools you should think about using;

1. Dropbox is an on-line backup and file sharing service. Anything that you save within the special Dropbox folder on your PC gets duplicated to a web based version of the folder, so you can log in and see your documents from anywhere. Install Dropbox on an additional laptop or computer and it’ll replicate your files there too, so it’s possible to swap computers without needing to move files manually. You can get Dropbox on smart phones as well to go ultra mobile.

2. Do you have issues keeping tabs on passwords? It’s the bane of the internet, and a problem LastPass is intending to unravel by giving a safe, secure online vault that enable you to save all your usernames and passwords. Sure, the service did suffer from its own security glitch not long ago, but the firm responded impressively. So really it’s just as safe as writing them in that little black book.

3. Once you’ve experimented with Remember the Milk, a web-based to-do list service with helpful bells and whistles, you probably won’t want to go back to paper ever again. And there’s no chance of your list getting tossed in to the recycling in error. Set deadlines, get reminders, categorise tasks and even set locations – this helpful and powerful service works on the web and on smart phones. The basic version is provided for free. And it has a lovely cow logo. What more would you want?

4. Delicious has a chequered background. Once a plucky start-up, it was bought by internet-giant Yahoo in 2005. They made few changes (I believe they didn’t really know where to start with it) before selling it to YouTube’s founders. Although it hasn’t altered much in a long time, Delicious still is a first-class social bookmarking service. In short: as opposed to saving bookmarks in your internet browser, you save them online. So when you next use the internet from a different computer, your bookmarks are all still there.

5. Google Apps covers many separate services from search giant Google, including Google Documents (online tools to edit documents, spreadsheets and presentations, etc), Google Mail (an online email service) and Google Calendar (an online diary). All you need to access these services is a web browser – things are saved online, so there’s never any worry about not having the files you need. Google Apps is seriously powerful and ideal for working together on documents – try it for free now.

What are your favourite online apps? Leave a comment and let us know.

Jonathan Edwards is MD and founder of Integral IT, a preferred IT support partner to many UK businesses. Jonathan has been working in the IT support industry since 1996 and is a Microsoft Certified Professional. He is actively involved with all aspects of client relationships and ensures Integral's IT support is of the highest quality possible.

  • Good list Jonathan. I’d like to add FreshBooks (invoicing), Basecamp (project management) and Mozy (backup).

  • Thanks for those additions Christian. I’ll be honest I’ve not heard of those first 2 but I’ll be checking them out!

    • Blinksale is awesome for freelancers and sole traders as it keeps invoicing and expenses simple. Basecamp is fantastic for managing projects involving small teams of people and lots of document collaboration – perfect for PR, marketing etc.