If you’ve recently set your business up to work remotely, then you already know that there is a lot to keep track of. Once you have your website up and running, it’s time to start moving other pieces of your business management infrastructure online as well!
Don’t worry if you’re short on time. There are many realistic and practical strategies for getting your business’s workflow online fast. It’s easy to set up everything from meetings to collaboration online. Best of all, many of these solutions are free or open source.
Use the Softaculous Apps installer included on our Shared Hosting Plans to get open source solutions online quickly!
- Security Considerations
- What does ‘Realistic’ Mean in this Context?
- Communication: Chats
- Boards and Portals
- Training with Moodle
The tools listed here will help you get critical business functions online as quickly and easily as possible. When you set these tools up, remain mindful of security. Depending on your business, some software may not be the best choice for you long-term.
At a minimum, make sure you are blocking unwanted users with your .htaccess file and using strong passwords unique to each page.
Do not rely on ‘security through obscurity’. If you set up an employee social network or training portal, simply using an unusual domain or subdomain for the URL is not enough to protect the site. Keep your pages and software secure and, whenever possible, enable two-factor authentication.
What does ‘Realistic’ Mean in this Context?
Whenever possible, the list of software below favors things that are free and/or open source. Programs like this are quick to set up— you may even have access to many of them already! Depending on your business needs in particular, though, a given program may not be the best for your situation. You may have more employees than ‘free’ customers are allowed, or you may have highly specialized data storage needs. If at all possible, test-run any software you plan on using and make sure it is appropriate to your business.
Slack is a highly customizable chat system designed for businesses. Businesses pay on a per-user basis, so small organizations can receive quite a lot of benefits at a low price! Aside from providing a chat space for meetings and an ‘online water cooler’ space for teams to catch up, paid versions of slack offer extensive archiving and screen share capabilities.
If archiving is not a concern and you can count your employees on one hand, you may not even need Slack! Discord, the online chat and voice software designed for PC Gamers, replicates much of Slack’s functionality. If message archiving is not a concern, consider setting up a Discord server and working for free!
A big winner in the recent push for online workspaces is Microsoft. The Teams application was originally started as a direct Slack competitor. Customers with an Office 365 or Microsoft Office subscription may already be getting Teams for free! If you’re a Microsoft ’shop’ and already have Microsoft front and center in your business’s workflow, try Teams.
Google Hangouts has a robust feature set; even the free version is packed with useful tools. All it takes is a freely available Gmail account to connect with the rest of your team. The videoconferencing feature of Hangouts, Hangouts Meet, can be used with a limited number of participants in the free version. The premium version of Hangouts Meet, available to businesses with G Suite accounts, allows for more simultaneous users.
Boards and Portals
Perhaps your business has less of a need for real time chat functionality and more of a need for asynchronous discussion. These programs can be easily set up using Softaculous, giving you a great deal of control over the configuration.
Dolphin allows you to build a complete social networking platform. For most businesses, Dolphin will probably have more features ‘out of the box’ than needed. If you want to build an employees only social network quickly, though, it’s hard to argue with the ease of installation.
For nearly 20 years, phpBB has helped people set up online message boards. This free and open source software may not look as sleekly modern as other options on the list, but it works and works reliably. The software is easy to install with Softaculous, with many guides available in our support center.
Training with Moodle
If you’re suddenly working remote, you may find a need to train— or retrain— employees to adapt. Thankfully, one of the most widely used Learning Management suites is both freely available and easy to install. Moodle is used in businesses and colleges the world over. Installation is simple and the software is extensively documented. You’ll have no trouble moving your training online if you use Moodle to help!