Archive for May, 2016

24 Cloud Storage Options for SMBs

Tuesday, May 31st, 2016

Cloud Storage Options

From sales collateral to documents, signed contract scans, and even expense receipts, almost everything that crosses our desks these days is contained in a digital file. Like their paper ancestors, these files need to be put somewhere safe where they can be found and referenced easily.

This need is the driving force behind the explosive growth of cloud storage options for SMBs. These vendors enable SMBs to cost-effectively centralize their files on remote servers while taking on none of the hardware, software, and management costs that building a homegrown solution would entail.

In addition, cloud storage solutions offer functionality above and beyond a spot to hold your files. These can include the ability to:

  • Access your files from anywhere;
  • Work across multiple devices, both desktop and mobile, by synchronizing your files;
  • Share files with coworkers and clients in a controlled manner;
  • Safeguard your confidential files; and
  • Tag and search your files in a manner that suits your needs and operating procedures.

Cloud Storage Options

To help you find a cloud storage option that fits your needs, we’ve compiled a list of solutions and broken them out across three primary categories:

  1. Straightforward file storage options;
  2. File storage options that offer synchronization; and
  3. High-security file storage options.

Straightforward Cloud Storage Options for SMBs

If you’re looking for an easy way to store, share and access your files from anywhere, consider the four online storage options below.

MediaFire

Launched in 2006, MediaFire is one of the original cloud storage options. Offering robust features at a variety of pricing levels, the solution remains close to its roots as an easy-to-use storage system with sharing and anywhere, cross-device access.

Google Drive

When it comes to features and functionality, Google Drive is the king of cloud storage solutions for SMBs. Aside from storing your files, if you need word processing, spreadsheet, or presentation software, Drive has all three, and more, built right in. Want to work on Microsoft files instead? Drive enables you to work with them directly within the system.

Drive’s sharing features are robust, offering comments and tracking as well as simultaneous access and collaboration. Overall, drive is easy-to-use and priced well for SMBs.

iCloud Drive

Once you store a file on iCloud Drive, you can access it from your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Mac, or PC. Like Drive, you can work on your files directly within iCloud.

In fact, one of the handiest features of iCloud is the ability to work on one file using multiple apps. As Apple explains, “Your apps can now share files, which means you can access and work on the same file across multiple apps. For example, you can create a drawing in a sketching app, then open it in a painting app to color it in. Or create a chart in one app and place it in a slideshow using a presentation app.”

Amazon Cloud Drive

Amazon is a big player in the cloud business and its Cloud Drive is a solid option for SMBs. You can store any type of file and access it on most devices whether in the office or on the go.

Cloud Storage Options for SMBs that Offer Synchronization

While the cloud storage solutions above offer the ability to access your files from anywhere, you need to be connected to the Internet to do so.

Synchronization eliminates that need, enabling you to work on your files offline. When you reconnect, these files automatically sync with (overwrite) their older online versions and from there, they are updated on all the other devices that you’ve set up to sync.

This is a key feature if you truly wish to work on the go whether you have access to the Internet or no.

Dropbox

One of the most well known cloud storage options, Dropbox is as easy-to-use as it is affordable. It offers solid features, including synchronization, and while those features are basic, they keep SMBs from getting overwhelmed.

Box

Another heavyweight, Box‘s metadata feature is hard to beat. Using templates you can customize to fit your business, Box enables you to store information about each file that can be used during an advanced search. This makes finding your files much easier and, thanks to the templates, you can standardize the metadata your employees use.

Box Metadata

Cubby

If you want more control over your cloud storage solution, check out Cubby. Combining an easy-to-use interface and a robust back-end, Cubby offers features like unlimited versioning, remote device wipe (in case a device is stolen), and DirectSync, a feature that syncs files locally without taking up your cloud storage space.

Microsoft OneDrive for Business

OneDrive is very similar to Google Drive except that it offers file sync so you can work offline. As part of Office 365, Microsoft’s online software suite, you can work on all your documents in OneDrive. Throw in a approval workflow system and this option is worth a look.

4Synch

If you use a Symbian or BlackBerry device, you should consider 4Synch as it’s one of the only solutions that has an app for those brands. Aside from that, 4Synch is an easy-to-use cloud storage solution that’s priced well and offers lots of storage.

Other Cloud Storage Options for SMBs that Offer Synchronization

In addition to the options above, these cloud storage solutions also offer synchronization:

High-Security Cloud Storage Options for SMBs

Before we dive into this section, we want to make one thing clear: all of the cloud storage options for SMBs on this list take security very seriously. The solutions in this section however, go above and beyond and should be considered if you need to store regulated or particularly sensitive client and customer data.

These solutions offer end-to-end encryption and more to protect your data. As far as other features such as synchronization and metadata, follow the links below to assure a solution will meet your requirements in those areas.

Conclusion

If you’re looking for a way to store, share and secure your digital files, check out the list of cloud storage options for SMBs above.

With features like synchronization and end-to-end encryption, you should be able to find a solution that fits both your needs and your budget.

Cloud Storage Photo via Shutterstock

This article, “24 Cloud Storage Options for SMBs” was first published on Small Business Trends

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Bulgarian Smuggler Gets Prison Sentence for Transporting 146 Migrants in Truck

Tuesday, May 31st, 2016

The district court in Svilengrad convicted a 28-year-old Bulgarian of smuggling. He is to spend one year and eight months in prison under strict regime. The court also issued him with a fine of BGN 1500.

On 20 September 2015, the smuggler was driving MAN truck bearing Burgas licence plates.

Upon entering Bulgaria through the Kapitan Andreevo checkpoint at the border with Turkey, migrants started exiting from the truck after they had burst open the carriage.

Border police officers established that a total of 146 migrants from Iraq and Iran were transported in the truck. Among them were men, women and children between three and fifteen years of age.

The driver managed to flee the scene, but was later detained by the police in Stara Zagora. On 8 October 2015, he was taken to the border police department in Svilengrad.

During the investigation, authorities established that the migrants were transported in the freezer compartment with the cooling installation turned on to conceal the presence of people in the truck.

The migrants have been accommodated at refugee centres across the country.

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SAP Ariba For Small Business Provides Technology to Connect With Customers

Tuesday, May 31st, 2016

SAP ariba

One of the biggest challenges small businesses face is access to resources. Whether it is getting funded, acquiring the best talent or developing the necessary networks to help their company thrive and grow, they have to work that much harder compared to large enterprises. Digital technology has made this much easier, and one of the solutions making this possible is SAP Ariba for small business.

The SAP Ariba Network has a clear objective in adding value on all the shared aspects of business commerce with proposals, contracts, orders, invoices, and payments to save you time, money and resources. And as a small business, being able to access these features with a real-world proven solution can be the catalyst to get your company to the next level of growth.

In an exclusive interview with Small Business Trends, Eric Self, Global Vice President, Seller Account Management, SAP Ariba, highlighted many of the benefits this technology solution provides small businesses as they navigate today’s digital ecosystem.

First thing first. Let’s get down to brass tacks; why should a small business use SAP Ariba? The answer Self gave was compelling for any business, large or small. He said, every hour, more than $434,000 in new business is posted to Ariba Discovery. And in 2015, alone, more than 33.1 million leads were matched through the service.

This type of lead is what gave Ergo Works, a small, woman-owned business in Palo Alto that sells ergonomic products access to more customers. According to the company’s president, Anne Kramer: “SAP gives us direct access to large corporations and provides a vehicle through which they can purchase specialty products from us while staying compliant within their procurement guidelines.”

Small businesses that connected to the Ariba Network were able to increase the efficiency of their sales and marketing activities by 20 percent, increase sales from new customers by 15 percent, boost wallet share with existing customers by 30 percent, and realize customer retention rates of 99 percent or more while getting paid 15-20 percent faster.

It is a given business has gone digital, which is responsible for opening incredible opportunities for small businesses. Traditional lead generation tools made it much too difficult if not impossible to find, qualify, and bid on opportunities for small companies.

The Ariba Network is a place where a small business can go beyond simply listing their products and services and create profitable connections with buyers who are ready to buy and efficiently manage both their sales cycle and cash flow.

This is the largest, most global B2B network where more than two million buyers and sellers — including over two thirds the Global 2000 — in 190 countries connect and collaborate. The amount of money SAP Ariba transacts annually in commerce is higher than Amazon, eBay and Alibaba combined at more than $1 trillion.

Those numbers might overwhelm some small businesses, so how does SAP Ariba for small business simplify the process. As Eric Self said, “It all starts with desire.  Are you serious about growing your business, competing with the best, and winning new customers – and who isn’t?”

If there is one thing small business owners have is desire, and the Ariba Network takes that desire and helps it flourish with a platform that is as easy as creating a presence on social networks. The detailed information about your business and capabilities, products and services enables you to put your best foot forward with buyers at some of the world’s leading and largest corporations. This means the passion you have for your company will be on display without faceless catalogs or middle men.

A great example of this is Quentin McCorvey, Sr., President and COO of M&R Distribution Services, a small, minority-owned firm based in Cleveland, Ohio. Before creating his profile on Ariba Discovery, MCorvey found it difficult to get his company in the door for getting the business of large enterprises. After being in the network, M&R Distribution bid on a project for Caesars Entertainment through the network — and it is now a vendor of choice for the entertainment giant, providing drum liners and gloves to all its properties.

McCorvey said, “There is often a stigma associated with awarding large contracts to small, minority-owned firms. But I am not looking for a handout, I am looking for a handshake — an opportunity to earn the business of a customer. Ariba provides me with a platform from which I can do this.”

He went on to say, “There are some very powerful purchasing organizations who use Ariba. And when they hear that I am connected to the network, it gives me added credibility because there is a level of respect.”

There are countless technology solutions in the market place addressing the needs of small businesses. This has allowed these companies to extend their reach not only nationally, but also internationally. When asked how the Ariba Network differs, Eric Self said it facilitates opportunities in every region of the world — not just with global, multinational buyers, but also with smaller companies looking for quality partners.

The network connects businesses in one place to find and fully engage with new partners across multiple channels to create opportunities. You can choose the markets, industries, and opportunities you want to compete in. So you will be able to generate intelligent transactions with partners around the world and manage the connections that matter to you most with greater efficiency.

As for how SAP Ariba for small business delivers tools that address their specific needs, Eric Self said it starts out by simplifying the complex nature of the entire ecosystem. First of all, it’s free to sign up and begin tapping into these opportunities to deliver real, measurable results.

The next step is even better, because you don’t have to invest in any software to be up and running. With just an Internet connection, your company can connect to the network and begin transacting anytime, anywhere, using any device. Your small business won’t need the technology solutions or infrastructure of a large enterprise, but you will have the same capability. With just a few clicks you can receive purchase orders, send order confirmations and invoices to buyers without any portals to manage.

As M&R Distribution’s McCorvey says, “I used to prospect with a full tank of gas and a pocket full of quarters.  With Ariba Discovery, the leads just show up in my inbox.  My world has changed.”

So the question isn’t why join the Ariba Network, but why not? If you are currently part of the network or decide to join, please let us know how the connections it provides has increased the visibility of your company.

Image: SAP

This article, “SAP Ariba For Small Business Provides Technology to Connect With Customers” was first published on Small Business Trends

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Bulgaria, Romania to Construct Back-up Gas Pipeline Under Danube

Tuesday, May 31st, 2016

Bulgaria and Romania will construct a back-up natural gas pipeline under the Danube river. This was announced by the transmission system operator in Bulgaria – Bulgartransgaz on Tueday.

In the beginning of April, Bulgartransgaz and its Romanian counterpart Transgaz signed a contract for the construction of the main gas pipeline of the Danube river undercrossing.

In addition to the main pipeline, representatives of the management of Bulgartransgaz and Transgaz signed on Monday a contract for the construction of back-up pipeline of the crossing of the Danube river to interconnect the gas transmission systems of the two countries.

In compliance with Romanian legislation, the association INSPET has been selected as the lead contractor for the project, while HABAU PPS Pipeline Systems has been chosen as the associated company.

The Austrian HABAU was selected as the lead contractor for the construction of the main pipeline, which should become operational in the middle of the summer.

According to the schedule, the back-up pipeline should be completed within 214 days after the opening of the construction site on the territory of both countries.

The crossing will measure 2.1 kilometres in length and the annual maximum capacity will be 1.5 billion cubic metres.

As with all other interconnections with neighbouring countries, the one with Romania is expected to improve the safety of Bulgaria’s energy supplies.

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The Ups and Downs of Running Your Own Business

Tuesday, May 31st, 2016

running your own business

Freedom and control are common factors that motivate people to leave traditional employment to start a new business. If you yearn for the opportunity to be in charge, set your own hours and design your daily activities, prepare yourself for some of the harsh realities of finding entrepreneurial success. Here are a few key things to consider as you evaluate whether running your own business is the right move.

The Long Hours

True, you should be able to control your hours as a business owner. However, entrepreneurs who desire to generate revenue and profit work almost always work more hours than they had before. In fact, your business owns you, you don’t own your time. In a small business where you play a pivotal operational role, the amount of time and effort you put in directly impacts how much money you make. If you employ any staff, your work ethic sets the tone for the company. It is hard to earn the respect and dedication of your team if you clock in at 9:00 a.m., clock out at 5:00 p.m., and take a two-hour lunch break each day. This point is especially true in a start-up environment where you rely on workers to go above and beyond the traditional eight-hour day as well.

Problems Must Be Solved

You can’t control when problems arise that demand your attention. Sure, you have the freedom to pretend they don’t exist, or that someone else will handle them. However, your customers and employees will look to the boss during times of stress or uncertainty for an answer. If a major distributor experiences a delay, for instance, you may need to travel to reassure ensure a positive experience for your customers. Power outages, technology malfunctions, and equipment breakdowns are a few of the other problems that could demand attention and prevent you from getting to the golf course or the beach.

Money and Freedom Go Hand-in-Hand

Kevin O’Leary, of “Shark Tank” fame, often says, “Money equals freedom.” In his case, he has enough money to freely choose which companies and investments to spend his time on. In the case of a new business owner, true freedom typically only comes when you go through the pains and frustrations of building up a profitable enterprise. This process usually takes three to fours years, until your business can afford to pay you a regular salary. If you want the freedom to make decisions on how to spend your time, plan to work harder and smarter on your own than you would as an employee.

The Owner’s Job is Overwhelming

Many people leave employment to get out of a boring, monotonous position. The logic is that you can design your own activities and focus on a diverse mix of things you enjoy as a small-business owner. In reality, as start-up business, you are taking on 10-14 jobs at once, so you will often spend hours trying to figure out which task to take on first each business day. Making products, setting up your website, generating leads, shipping packages are among the common roles of a start-up owner. Until you build up your business, and can add staff, it is common to take on many tasks that you intend to get away from once you build up your business.

The rewards of running your own small business often far exceeds anything you could achieve as an employee. However, the process to earn those rewards are typically much harder than you thought. Plan to work hard for years, tackle major problems, and carry out many activities everyday without complaining.

Republished by permission. Original here.

Business Owner Photo via Shutterstock

This article, “The Ups and Downs of Running Your Own Business” was first published on Small Business Trends

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Gunvor money used for $1bn oligarch debt

Tuesday, May 31st, 2016

Oil trader CEO awarded himself dividend, then paid Timchenko

Bulgarian PM Appoints Deputy Agriculture Minister Responsible for Fisheries

Tuesday, May 31st, 2016

Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov has appointed Svilen Kostov as Deputy Agriculture Minister, the government’s press service informed on Tuesday

Kostov holds Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Forest Management from the University of Forestry in Sofia.

He began his professional career at the State Fund Agriculture in 2004, holding different positions from expert to head of the “Direct payments per area” unit.

Between 2011 and 2013 Kostov served as deputy executive director of the State Fund Agriculture. Since 2014 he has been adviser to Agriculture Minister Desislava Taneva.

The new deputy minister will be responsible for application of the EU’s Common Fisheries Policy and identifying the priorities of the country in the sector.

The holder of the position will also work for enhancing the efficiency of land use and increasing the revenues from agricultural activity.

The decision to appoint new deputy agriculture minister responsible for CFP had been taken by the government last week.

This is the latest appointment of deputy minister over the past few days. On Friday, Borisov appointed deputy labour minister, which was followed by the appointment of third deputy justice minister on Monday.

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Kenya’s mining industry set for boom

Tuesday, May 31st, 2016

Mining minister seeks to build additional 10-20 mines in 15 years

Bulgarian Court Acquits Alleged Drug Lord of Two Charges

Tuesday, May 31st, 2016

Bulgaria’s specialised criminal court acquitted on Monday alleged drug lord Zlatomir Ivanov, known as Zlatko Baretata, of two charges which had been brought against him.

Ivanov, who had been accused of heading an organised crime group involved in the distribution of drugs and unlawfully appropriating a Mercedes E 500, was acquitted of both charges.

Baretata and nine others had been accused of participating in an organised crime group involved in the distribution of drugs on the southern Black Sea coast, Sofia and Kazanlak.

Only four of them were convicted of participating in the drug ring, while the rest were acquitted of this charge, but were found guilty on other charges.

The ruling of the court can be appealed before the appellate specialised criminal court within the next fifteen days.

Two weeks ago, the Supreme Court of Cassation convicted Ivanov on another charge brought against him for heading organised crime group involved in the distribution of drugs.

 

Source

Competitiveness of Bulgarian Economy Improves

Tuesday, May 31st, 2016

According to the latest World Competitiveness Scoreboard of the Institute for Management Development released on Monday, the competitiveness of the Bulgarian economy has improved.

Bulgaria occupies the 50th position out of 61 countries ranked in the scoreboard, which is an improvement of five positions compared to last year.

Only three European counties have lower scoring than Bulgaria – Greece, Croatia and Ukraine. Hong Kong tops the ranking, followed by Switzerland and the USA.

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