5 Cloud Collaboration Tools To Increase Team Productivity

In recent years, the professional environment has evolved into an always connected, increasingly mobile place. This shift paved the way for freelancers and remote workers to thrive, and for some, to even become the lifeblood of business.

A Gallup poll says around 37% of workers in the U.S. have at least tried telecommuting, while staying as productive as other employees. The research also revealed that the average worker telecommutes at least two days in a month. Nowadays, work-from-home setups and distributed global offices can be as successful as your regular Wall Street conglomerate.

In order for your business to stay afloat even in the absence of a physical workplace, you need to harness the power of communication tools that places great emphasis on collaboration capabilities. Your usual devices such as laptops, smartphones, and tablets count as your main tools. Your broadband internet connection and your internet-powered communications provider serve as your actual gateway to your workplace.

If you’re on the lookout for a cloud platform that lets you collaborate with other team members within a virtual office environment, consider the following tools as your options.


Hubbion is by far the only completely free collaboration tool that offers unlimited collaboration among an unlimited number of users with no restriction whatsoever on the file sizes. Also, unlike a number of other collaboration tools in the market today, Hubbion does not restrict communication to one team of users. Instead, users may interact with multiple teams simultaneously and all projects that they are involved as a project creator, assignee or just as a participant are aggregated and may be viewed over one dashboard.


Acquired in 2015 by cloud communications leader RingCentral to complement its already powerful platform, Glip has made it easier for people to participate in team conversations via simple text chat and through typical collaboration capabilities such as instant file sharing, task management, calendars, and more. This online tool offers a free version, but existing subscribers of the RingCentral Office suite can also extend their phone system’s capabilities through click-to-call and quick directory controls that can be used in conjunction with Glip. It earns plus points for its intuitive, dedicated app that runs on virtually everything – on a desktop app, on Android or iOS devices, and yes, even on browsers (for those who hate installing stuff).


This tool is particularly geared towards users of Atlassian products (especially JIRA). However, it can also be enjoyed by most collaborative teams since it offers simpler, cheaper pricing than most of its competitors. Users also praise it for its numerous integrations not normally found on other tools and the seemingly unlimited cap on file uploads. The UI also feels pretty much straightforward, and some have noticed how the tool keeps its “web-based” look and feel regardless of the client used. For simple team chats, HipChat could be a top contender.


On other team collaboration tools, users have to log out and log in each time they want to switch teams. Slack has found a way to address this so it’s become very ideal for freelancers who work on multiple projects or companies at a time using the same email address. Slack also gained the nod of several teams for its powerful search capabilities that even extends to file attachments. To top it off, Slack has a ton of investors behind it. Although this isn’t a product feature, you’re assured that the company behind it has the money for research and development – which usually translates to more features.


Zoho offers an array of business productivity tools claiming that it’s your “operating system for business.” It delivers sales and marketing apps and business process apps, but its strength lies in its modular email and collaboration offering that makes project monitoring a whole lot easier. Although its features may sound too high-level, they’re pretty simple to use. You can plan projects with milestones, task lists, recurring tasks, subtasks, and the like. It can be very ideal for complex projects because the tool allows you to break them down into subtasks to make them more manageable. There’s also a dedicated bug tracker so you can tag and fix issues faster, making it more ideal for developers.

As with any other paid business solution, the perfect cloud collaboration tool for your team can’t just be based on what’s popular in the market right now or the cheapest among the lot. Some of the products mentioned above have certain advantages over another, so you have to carefully examine your options and find one that will work well with your existing workflow.

Author’s Bio:

Ronald is a digital marketing specialist for RingCentral, a leading cloud phone system solution. Over the years, he has developed a keen interest on small business trends because of the nature of his work. You can find him on LinkedIn and Twitter.

3 Legal Liability Issues for the Internet of Things

The Internet of Things (IoT) is more than a buzzword, it’s a lifestyle. With smartphones, smart homes, smart tv’s, and more it seems like people want to be constantly connected. With new technology, however, comes a new approach to the legal liability part. IoT comes with challenges that require creative solutions. These can be partially addressed by thinking about the impact of first movers on non-standardized device creation. Here is what you need to know:

The Internet of Things (IoT) is more than a buzzword, it’s a lifestyle. With smartphones, smart homes, smart TVs, and more it seems like people want to be constantly connected.  With new technology, however, comes a new approach to the legal liability part. IoT comes with challenges that require creative solutions. These can be partially addressed by thinking about the impact of first movers on non-standardized device creation. Here is what you need to know:

1. Your Work, Your Product

Product liability is one of the first things to focus on when discussing its impact on the legal landscape. In doing this, an organization that creates technology needs to think ahead. First off, sometimes stuff break or end up not working right. This basic malfunction can cause a house thermometer to malfunction in the winter leaving a house without heat and causing the family to relocate. Secondly, if someone from the outside hacks into the product, they could take control of it and impact the lives of people in an unfortunate manner, such as accidents, human losses etc. Every scenario must be taken into account. Finally, the product or the server is hacked leading to stolen personal data. This can lead to identity theft, which exposes sensitive credit card information or identity information of any kind.

2. So Much IoT, So Little Time

Most of the time, liability needs to be traced back to the source of the problem. In the case of IoT, this is increasingly difficult. IoT development relies on incorporating multiple chips or devices interconnected between each other. This leads to a nightmare when trying to determine the legal root problem of a security breach.  For example, if your smartphone is connected to a chain of routers, this creates multiple “blind spots” from where an attack could occur.

According to legal experts at SteinPag, “the interconnectedness of IoT causes serious negligence issues. With so many parties involved, determining which device is at fault can be challenging. This means that as lawsuits arise, there is also a lot of finger-pointing involved. With the lack of solid laws at this point, finding standards of accountability is determined by adjudication.”

3. Go Speed-Racer

People crave more technology. This drives companies to create or design it. To meet demands means to consider that the creation process is moving much faster than the standards and regulations involved. While there are compliance laws and standards for traditional technology, the IoT landscape still lacks many of them. With no requirements, there’s no specific duty to which the devices can be held accountable for. Moreover, many of the companies driven to create these devices do not have the security built into the applications. This leads to a proliferation of vulnerable devices that are not held to any specific standards, making the connection to liability blurry.

As it appears, liability for IoT devices remains an uncharted territory, for the moment. Increasingly more people want to connect to smart devices, which is good business for many companies and startups, especially. However, IoT providers should pay more attention to the sensitivity nature of developing gadgets and devices, and make sure they meet regulations, in order to avoid lawsuits and liability issues.

Serverless Cloud Computing And Its Benefits

Serverless computing provides a platform which allows the developers to execute code in response to certain events without facing any complexity in building and maintenance of cloud infrastructure. These codes are usually used in conjunction with codes written in traditional server style, like microservices. For instance, part of web application can be written as both as microservices as well as serverless codes. These serverless codes are activated with the help of specific events such as registration with Amazon Cognito or can also be activated by configuring to run behind an Application Programming Interface (API) platform.

Even though there is a word “serverless” in the term “serverless computing”, but it should be remembered that this platform does require servers to run the code. The word “serverless” is used to signify that, the organization or an individual does not need to purchase, rent or provision any server or even virtual machines to develop an application.

One of the attraction of serverless computing deployment is that the cloud customer need to pay, only for the service usage and not for any of the cost associated with idle time or down-time. 

Benefits of serverless computing

It is important to understand that despite the old way of computing which works fine, why would a developer go through the trouble of building a software through serverless computing. The following benefits are the key reasons which can provide an explanation for this.

Simplified management of operations

Serverless computing platforms are meant to provide clear distinction between the infrastructure services and the applications that are running at the upper end of the platform. Thus, the automatic scaling functionality of serverless computing (also known as Function as a Service) not only helps in reducing the computing cost, but also helps in reducing the operational management overheads. Thus, it allows the System engineers and the Software Requirement Engineers to focus on managing and running the underlying platform along with the core services like load balancers and databases.

Packaging and deploying a serverless computing system is easier as compared to the deployment of an entire server. As serverless computing system has no requirement of continuous delivery, continuous integration, and containerization tool thus, enabling the developers to write the code directly in the vendor console and therefore, there is no need of system administration in case of fully serverless solutions.

Reduction in operational cost

Serverless computing saves money, in terms of both, the computing power as well as the human resources. For a developer, it is important to understand that in case of serverless computing you need to pay only for the time your function or functions are running and since, you don’t run the app 24/7, this is a considerable cost saving.

From the perspective of a big company with the huge collection of apps, APIs and microservices, there is continuous resource utilization, no matter whether those resources are currently in use or not. With the help of serverless computing, the company can execute the function for any number of apps in demand and share all the resources, without running the apps 24/7 thus, it reduces idle time to almost zero and provides a fast response time. Therefore, with the introduction of serverless computing, the days of spending hundreds of thousands of dollars for servers are gone.

Ease of innovation

Serverless computing has alleviated the problems of system engineering and its underlying platform, thus making it easy for product engineers to innovate at a rapid pace. This less time for operations translates into a smooth application of agile methodologies.

Serverless computing can handle the regular concerns of the internet facing applications such as identity management, storage, etc. Thus, with the ease of innovation through serverless computing due to its various features, it’s not a dream but the reality that product engineers can thereby focus on developing the actual business logic of the application.

An interesting fact about serverless computing is that, it is not meant to replace the existing delivery models rather, it complements them. The world’s largest online media streaming provider, Netflix planned to reduce the rate of errors and save time by replacing the inefficient processes and use AWS lambda to build rule based self-managing infrastructure. Thus, serverless computing seems to provide a promising future in the betterment of computing scenario.

Quantum Cryptography: The ‘Key’ To Perfect Security?

Since the dawn of the computer era with the Apple I, the need for security has been crucial. Although simple encryption was strong enough to fend off some of the first real hackers, the popularization and advancement of technology in our society has made even the strongest means of encryption all but null in comparison.

However, for the last few years scientists have been working on what they believe to be the future of encryption, and a way to ensure encrypted files are completely unhackable no matter what they face. Although some skeptics speculate that this form of cryptography has its flaws like any other, the future is bright with this new means of data security, and the likelihood of a brighter future is all but sealed in exchange. However, to know just how this form of encryption could alter the way we secure our data forever, we must first know exactly what it is, determine whether it truly is unhackable, and back these statements with evidence presented through testing of the actual encryption itself.

What is quantum cryptography?

Quantum cryptography is the science of exploiting quantum mechanical properties to perform cryptographic tasks. One of the most popular forms of quantum cryptography is quantum key distribution, which is where two parties use a shared secret key to encrypt and decrypt messages between them.

The main reason that this form of cryptography is so effective is the fact that it allows the completion of multiple cryptographic tasks that were otherwise proven or conjectured to be impossible using other forms of non-quantum communication. There are multiple different ways that this form of cryptography can be used, including quantum commitment, quantum coin flipping, bounded- and noisy-quantum-storage model, position-based quantum cryptography, device-independent quantum cryptography, and post-quantum cryptography.

However, although many have claimed that these different procedures are utterly unhackable in the past, many of these systems have been proven to be flawed in multiple ways, leaving them completely open to even the weakest hackers out there in a matter of seconds. The main reason for this is the fact that the code can be easily written incorrectly and, in turn, can quite easily lead to a data breach.

In fact, despite this seeming to be a completely unhackable, tried and true solution to the issue of data security, it appears to be far from it at this point in time. However, the question remains: if it were done correctly, would it actually be unhackable?

Is it actually unhackable?

In short, the answer is simply “no”. However, this does not mean that this will be the case indefinitely. In fact, many scientists believe its flaws all come in the form of simple careless human errors in the basic code that creates these cryptographic methods. For instance, on the subject, physicist Renato Renner from the Institute of Theoretical Physics in Zurich stated, “If you build it correctly, no hacker can hack the system. The question is what it means to build it correctly.”

Although we have quite a ways to go, testing continues to occur and, as with all technological advancements, things are certainly looking up for the fans and advocates behind this rather innovative form of data security. In fact, in September of last year, a group of scientists, engineers, and pilots tested quantum cryptography using photon detection in an airplane. These scientists were able to receive encrypted messages through photons from the ground below with ease, making them the first to prove quantum cryptography’s success when used in long distance situations. This test further reveals its ability to be used for things other than point-of-presence technology, as it makes its way towards military applications.

Therefore, although this form of encryption may be currently hackable due to weak keys and mistakes in coding, the likelihood of this form of encryption becoming the norm is extremely high. In turn, the world may be changed forever, and the safety of our most personal information may be an afterthought in the long run.

How can it impact our world?

Although the use of this form of cryptography in the military is already an important factor to keep in mind, this is far from the only way that quantum cryptography can be used. Another massive industry that may be positively affected by this form of data encryption is the job industry. For big companies, the data they receive is not only private, but also highly valuable as well. Because of this, the way this data is secured is extremely important. For instance, if an individual chooses to utilize a system such as FileMaker in the cloud, this completely opens up their company and all of their data to cyber attacks. However, using quantum key distribution, these pieces of data being transferred back and forth can be quickly and meticulously encrypted to ensure their security — no matter what the case scenario is. Because of this particular use, quantum cryptography is an amazing example of workplace cyber security.

Similarly, some scientists believe they can utilize this form of encryption to create networking equipment dedicated to the security of any and all transferred messages throughout entire companies. Although this is a technology that appears to be something we will not successfully achieve until much further in the future, the idea of being able to encrypt messages without doing any work in the process is yet another way that this form of cryptography makes for a highly enticing security future.

Lastly, another way that this form of security may be used in the future is for telemedicine and various other technologies in the healthcare industry. Recently, the use of technology and advancement in healthcare has become an issue of much concern, as multiple individuals have feared that connecting the health of individuals to the cloud could lead to hazards, and even deaths, in the process. From heart monitors leading to the instant death of multiple individuals, all the way to VR attacks on headsets used specifically to rehabilitate stroke victims, quantum cryptography could eliminate these deadly possibilities.

The use of encryption to secure a patient’s information and forms of healthcare is what makes quantum cryptography so enticing to healthcare professionals. By encrypting forms of healthcare which utilize technology such as heart monitors and VR headsets, and by examining the technologies used to create things such as medical images and store personal patient information, quantum cryptography can completely transform the way we look at healthcare as a whole.

In the end, these are only a few examples out of many. The truth is that this form of encryption could very well lead to a brighter future for our country, if built correctly. After all, it takes one big idea to change the world forever, and even the smallest of people can make the biggest of dents.