By Alyssa Gregory

Cloud computing may be on the current business buzzword list, but there’s no denying how this technology can change things for small business owners. I’m always watching for the best technology solutions for small business because technology is what helps us cut costs in our daily operations.

So, what is cloud computing? The simplest explanation is that cloud computing provides access to your information online instead of (only) on your local computer, which means you can access data from any Internet-enabled device.

To demonstrate how you can use cloud computing in your small business, I compiled a list of five apps that use cloud computing. I use each of these apps myself.

1. Evernote

I have been using Evernote for years to manage ideas, inspirations, and random thoughts. The fact that I can start an outline for an article on my Mac, then grab my iPhone and have the same exact information, exactly where I left off, is invaluable. It’s a powerful tool for managing ideas, tracking tasks, writing articles, and even organizing different aspects of your life.

2. Carbonite

Carbonite is an online data backup service that uses the cloud to sync and update. It’s fast, instant and mindless (you can set it up to run in the background without any extra effort on your part). I highly recommend having several concurrent systems in place to protect your data, and an online backup, especially one that you can access remotely, is vital. Carbonite does this flawlessly.

3. Dropbox

Dropbox for Business is a secure file sharing and storage tool that provides a central storage location and collaboration platform for you business files. It is very popular for sharing large files with colleagues and clients quickly and easily.

4. OmniFocus

OmniFocus is one of the most important apps I use in my business. It is a task management app that tracks tasks by project, place, person, or date. OmniFocus allows users to create perspectives and contexts to manage tasks for their business and personal life. I love the fact that it syncs instantly from one Mac to the other — and my iPhone and iPad — seamlessly so I always have my tasks and projects in front of me.

5. FreshBooks

FreshBooks is cloud-based accounting software that streamlines the invoicing process for small business owners. Along with invoicing, FreshBooks allows you to track time and expenses in one consolidated location.

For me, the best benefit of cloud computing is the ability to automatically sync my multitude of devices (Mac to iPhone to PC) instantly and have constant access to the information I need, when I need it.

What cloud-based apps do you use in your business?