Running Your Business From the Road: Stay Productive, Stay Safe.

Great apps for the business traveler

The global village – or at least the global workspace – is here and whether you consider yourself a road warrior or a digital nomad, you have more tools than ever to keep your business up and running smoothly while you maintain your health and the safety of your data.

With mobile devices like Samsung’s Galaxy tablets and smartphones you can stay on top of your “to-do” list and keep everyone on your team moving in the same direction. By the way, a survey done by PC Housing showed that on average, business travelers check their smartphones 34 times a day, so I don’t think we can overestimate the value of a good smartphone.

I want to pull one more number from that survey that really drives home the importance of being armed with great mobile devices when you’re on the road: 75 percent of business travelers are able to get more than six hours of sleep each night because of the productivity they achieve using their mobile technology. How can you even put a price on that?

There are many specialized cloud-based apps and services you’ll find invaluable when you’re on the road, but many of them are industry or career-position specific. Let’s look at categories of apps and services that you can use no matter what you do in your small business.

1. Tethering and hot spot apps. Hackers are increasingly trolling public Wi-Fi providers to steal personal data from unsuspecting users. Unfortunately, many business travelers log onto the free Wi-Fi at hotels and coffee shops ambivalent to the danger. By using a tethering app installed on your smartphone that takes you to the Internet via your cellphone signal you can eliminate this security risk. Add Samsung Knox and you take security even further protecting your personal and business data on your mobile device.

2. Office 365 or Google Docs. You can achieve similar cloud-based document sharing and editing with these two heavyweights. The Microsoft product comes with a small monthly subscription fee, but each license also comes with the ability to download the Microsoft Office suite of familiar applications to five phones, five tablets, and five PCs or Macs. Outfit your tablet with a keyboard and you can work on all your documents, including spreadsheets and presentations.

3. Google video Hangouts. Despite the proliferation of email, instant messaging and text messages, there will always be business meetings. When you’re working with a team that is flung around the country or around the globe, consider using Google Hangouts for your business meetings. These are recording to your YouTube channel so if people miss the meeting, they can catch up. You can also share your screen, which is very helpful in the business environment.

4. Track expenses. One of the biggest headaches of the business traveler is collecting receipts and dealing with them after the trip is complete. There are a variety of mobile apps that connect with accounting software that make this virtually painless. One of the great features you’ll find as you compare these apps, is the ability to snap a picture of the receipt with your smartphone camera. These app do some optical character recognition magic and file it away in the right place.

5. Hold that thought. Evernote continues to be the app of choice for capturing thoughts, creating lists, snapping pictures, sharing information, grabbing pages from the Internet, taking voice memos and much more. Many professionals will be fine with the free level of service. It syncs automatically across all your devices and you can invite others on your team to share various notes you create.

The five mentioned here cover a lot of the fundamental business practices. If I’ve missed some of your essentials, let me know. Share your thoughts in the comments section. We all would appreciate it!Sponsored by AT&T