There has been a lot of hype for cloud-based apps lately, and understandably so. Cloud based apps let you do all of your business online, and let you pay relatively little for their services. That being said, there are still a lot of great desktop apps that can help your business as well. As for cost effectiveness, the cloud isn’t the only place to find cheap software tools. The following list of desktop apps is sure to come in handy around your office, and they can all be downloaded for free.
Jing – Jing is a free and functional desktop application used anytime you want to share what you see on your screen with someone else. Jing allows an easy interface for capturing, editing, and sharing screenshots for online conversations, marketing, web-posting, email, or whatever else you can think to use it for. Exclusively for the Mac, Skitch is equally effective, and just as free.
Skype – Many have already signed on with this popular communication software that can put you in contact with anyone in the world. Free and desktop-based, Skype can be used for anything from worldwide video conferencing to inter-office collaboration via instant message. Also it’s hard to beat their file-sharing with quick speeds and no limit to file size.
TweetDeck – If you use Twitter for your business, TweetDeck is a must-have desktop app. It saves you the time of opening a browser and signing in, and the visual interface makes it easy for your marketing team to craft tweets, manage contacts, and spread the word about your business.
Documents and Organization:
Google Desktop – Not only can you search the internet right from your desktop, but Google Desktop syncs with your hard drive so you can search your computer just like you would the web. Google Desktop instantly pulls up files containing your search terms, and also provides a slew of free gadgets that connect you to weather, news, and other Google apps like calendar and docs.
OffiSync – If you’re tired of jumping from Google Docs to Microsoft Word, OffiSync has you covered. Once installed, OffiSync exists as an extra tab in the MS Word interface. From there you have a two-way portal to open, save, edit, and collaborate on any of the documents in your Google Docs. Collaboration is especially useful because it lets employees work in the familiar MS Word interface while still benefitting from the accessibility of Google Docs.
ScanDrop – ScanDrop is another free desktop application that links to Google Docs, but instead of sending your Word files, ScanDrop lets you scan and upload paper documents directly to Google Docs. Developed by the paper and digital document management service, OfficeDrop, this application makes it easy to get hardcopy information online with scanning, viewing, editing, and uploading in one simple interface. ScanDrop is compatible with most personal scanners and is easy to set up.
pfSense – For advanced network security, pfSense will be a big help making sure your internet connection is securely firewalled. For no cost other than download time, pfSense lays down serious network security, and can also be employed as a network router.
TrueCrypt – So you’ve got your network covered, but what if someone steals your hardware? To protect the valuables on your hard drive, TrueCrypt is a free open-source software that lets you encrypt a single file, or your entire machine. If you encrypt your laptop, for example, a password will be required for access every time it is turned on. Far more secure than just assigning a password in your OS, TrueCrypt renders any stolen machines about as useful as a paperweight.
So, while there are many web-based applications that help your business, there are also a number of desktop applications that can be equally productive and cost effective. These cases, it’s worth a few MBs of disk space for an application that makes your life easier.