By Liana Torosyan 

This post is brought to you by Mitrefinch, a global HR software company that provides time and attendance solutions for small – midsize companies in North America, UK, Australia and New Zealand.

Cloud computing has come a long way recently. Just a few years ago, there were questions of reliability, security, safety and convenience of switching essential computing services to the cloud.

Today, though, the technology has advanced to the point where taking advantage of cloud computing services is a given, as they allow businesses of all sizes and industries the opportunity to operate different aspects of their company in a more efficient manner.

Cloud computing services help businesses grow and compete in the marketplace, and they are now affordable and easily accessible for businesses of all sizes, not just the corporate giants. Cloud services can provide benefits in the areas of information, sales, talent acquisition, asset protection and, perhaps most importantly, processing power.

There are plenty of cloud computing services that can help your business succeed, but how do you narrow down the list of potential services to the ones that would benefit you the most?

Here are five of the top cloud computing services that every business should take advantage of.

1. Microsoft Office 365

Microsoft bundled its popular and well-known software suite (including Word, Excel and PowerPoint) back in 2011 into a cloud computing service called Office 365. The package is a licensed offering that is charged on either an annual or monthly basis and includes not just access to its desktop programs, but also cloud file storage and business-class email.

When new versions of the desktop apps are available, they are updated automatically since you’re paying a subscription fee. The business-class email gives every user in your company a mailbox with 50 GB of storage, and the ability to access the email through both the Outlook app or in a web browser, providing for easy access wherever you are.

In addition, each subscriber in your subscription gets 1TB of storage with Microsoft’s OneDrive. This allows your company to take all its vital document storage into the cloud as part of one subscription package that also covers your email and essential programs.

2. Skype for Business

Skype is a free service that, ironically, Microsoft now owns today. It’s actually an offering as part of an Office 365 subscription. So why would you pay for a service that you can get for free?

First, it’s only $2 per month, so it’s a cheap addition. But most importantly, paying for the service allows you to have 250 users participate in one virtual meeting, expanding your company’s ability to hold larger live conferences and webinars. With so much business happening remotely these days, it’s a great (and inexpensive) feature to have.

3. Mitrefinch

Taking HR services to the cloud is one of the best ways you can boost your business’ productivity. Mitrefinch offers a plethora of HR cloud computing services that can ease the burden of handling these aspects of business on your own, and make you even more efficient and effective than you already are.

Mitrefinch offers time management and attendance software that can help you manage your team of employees, even if you can’t be on location with them all the time. Streamlining workforce management processes can save you valuable time and money, and increase your output exponentially as well.

One of Mitrefinch’s cloud computing services is a fingerprint time clock that makes it easy for employees to check in and out of work. This feature also significantly cuts down the time managers used to spend wading through manual printed timesheets.

Mitrefinch’s powerful workforce management software can also help with absence management, allowing you to track and ensure your business stays compliant; HR management, allowing you to gain greater workforce insights with centralized employee data; and workforce scheduling, so even complex shift schedules are easy to figure out and disseminate.

4. Asana

Asana is a great cloud computing solution for businesses. It is project management software that allows you to organize projects across your entire company, or within smaller teams in your company.

Asana allows you to assign tasks to people or groups, and also provides tracking, reporting and conversations to happen with threads of a specific project. The program is very easy to use and easy to figure out, and it allows for the storage and upload of data and reporting related to the tasks.

Project management software in the cloud allows you to be able to keep your team and company on task with all projects, no matter where people are. In addition, it allows you to effectively manage projects and get updates in real-time.

There is a free version of Asana, but it comes with limited features that might not be enough for your company. There are affordable options for small- to medium-sized teams, though, and even an enterprise solution for much larger teams.

5. Cloudphone

Acquiring and setting up phone service for your business can be a hassle, and an expensive one at that. Using a cloud phone service such as Cloudphone, though, could be the perfect solution.

Cloudphone allows you to have the typical PBX-like telephone system but on the cloud. The service allows you to route calls, set up an automated attendant with prompts, have voicemail for your employees, have business phone numbers and conference calling features.

The best part about it is that Cloudphone is run over everyone’s smartphone – without using their personal cellphone number. This allows your employees to work anywhere and still be able to be connected to your business phone system. So, when you receive a call on your business phone, you can answer it even if you’re on the go.