My Favorites – Part II – Services
LogMeIn – This is one of the greatest freebies on the Internet in my humble opinion. This gem of a service was around for a long while before I ever became aware of it. Some smart people at my favorite restaurant point of sale company turned me on to this. LogMeIn is a full featured, well implemented remote access program that is both easy to use and readily accessible. Included in the free version is the ability to remote control any machine running Microsoft Windows, OS X, and as far as I Linux, too! The paid versions of this program include outstanding print redirection capability and file transfer features.
Google Analytics – Easy to install and use, Google Analytics makes it easy to see what kind of traffic is being driven to your website.
Bomgar – This is the remote support software I use to provide support for my clients. I chose a hardware solution as opposed to using a software-as-a-service solution such as LogMeIn Rescue or GoToAssist. While a hosted solution is an enticing solution, offering a fixed cost for access to the latest in remote control technology, I opted for the Bomgar appliance, as there are no long term costs beyond purchase of the hardware. Given my business model, it should be some years before there is another mainstream operating system widely used that the current technology does not support. Given a bit of luck, it won’t blow up anytime soon…
MobileMe – While Apple has some work to do in refining the MobileMe service, I have found the synchronization capability of the MobileMe service to be well worth the annual fee. MobileMe can be used to synchronize a variety of data types including contacts, calendars, and a number of third party applications. For a consumer or small business user that has a business model compatible with the OS X environment, MobileMe can be used to implement a super simple disaster recovery protocol.
Hosted Exchange – Individuals and small business users can greatly benefit from having the same capabilities available to enterprise users with a hosted Exchange solution. In its’ simplest form, Exchange server can be used to synchronize Microsoft Outlook between multiple computers. This can be very useful for a user that checks e-mail on a desktop computer as well as a laptop. Mobile device synch is also an invaluable feature if you have a phone capable of connecting to Exchange, such as the iPhone. Presently, I use SherWeb for my Exchange hosting service provider.
Cellular Internet – Internet access is critical to my business. Without access to remote networks, I would spend much more time driving, and a lot less time supporting my clients. Anyone with a need for Internet access away from the office should take a close look at cellular Internet service. Monthly fees for access has dropped by approximately 25% over the past three years, and the local 3G connect speeds are faster than a T1 circuit in most areas. Having been a CellularOne customer, I presently use AT&T for cellular Internet service.