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Technology and apps that increase efficiency, streamline communication and optimize day-to-day operations.
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Software is the unsung hero of our modern world that allows us to operate our lives in the digital realm. Whatever your problem may be, you can find a piece of software designed to solve it.
To choose the software that’s right for you, weigh pros and cons, compare reviews — and don’t settle until you see a price that matches your needs and budget.
Compare collaboration software
We’ve rounded up a collection of services to get your business started below. If you’re interested in other types of software, explore different tabs on the table.
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How to compare software
To make sure you’re purchasing software that’s going to work the way you need it to, think about how you’ll be able to get the most out of your new software or app:
- Solutions. You might use the same piece of software differently from the next person. Figure out the problem you’re looking to solve, and then shop for a product that can resolve it. Otherwise, you may get stuck paying for a program with extra features you won’t even use.
- Customization. Narrow down software that is flexible enough to cover your precise workflow, task or problem. Standard software may be fine, with without customization, it may be unable to adapt to tomorrow’s needs.
- User experience. Learn what others who are using the software have to say in online reviews and forums. about everyday use, including how the company handles bugs and support.
- Updates. Technology advances fast these days, and it’s nice to use software that offers updates regularly — not only for maintenance, but to improve how you use it.
- Ongoing contracts. Some services are pay-as-you-go, while others allow you to sign up for monthly and annual subscriptions. Before you sign a contract, confirm it’s not too difficult to get out of without a fine or forfeiting your subscription payment.
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Software vs. application software
The two main types of software are system software and application software.
System software runs all smart devices, including computers, tablets, phones and smart speakers. This software is often installed on the device before you buy it.
Application software is what most people mean when they say software. It’s what helps you process words, crunch numbers, browse the web and perform other tasks using your computer or device.
Many people use application software to work, communicate with others, play games, increase their digital privacy and consume media. If you have a smart device, you probably use some form of application software every day through different types of apps.
How can I use software at home?
By incorporating software into your life, you can save money, make your devices more secure and free up time by automating tasks.
Types of personal software
- Antivirus software. Shield your devices from viruses and malware, including Trojan horses, worms, spyware and malware.
- Mobile antivirus software. Protect personal and banking information stored on your mobile phone. You can also divert spam calls, sending them straight to voicemail.
- Online cloud storage. Store, share and sync photos, videos and other files conveniently and on budget. Access your cloud storage from anywhere — all you need is an Internet connection.
- Password management software. Create secure keypasses and passwords for all of your online accounts while remembering only one master password. Plus, auto-sync passwords across devices.
- Backup software. Keep your photos, videos, documents and other files safe from disaster with automatic or manual backups. Save entire computer systems or move important folders to a secure location.
- Secure messaging apps. Make sure the messages you send can’t be intercepted by third parties. Look for end-to-end encryption for the strongest messaging protection.
- VPN software. Fight hackers and protect your identity while keeping your activity safe from prying eyes. VPN software is especially important if you’re dealing with sensitive information.
- Budgeting software. Track and adjust your daily spending to reach personal financial goals. Budgeting software can help you forecast your future financial health to get big-picture insight into how much you save and spend.
How can I use software for my business?
Software can be a cost-effective way to help your business run more efficiently. Whether you own a small company or run a huge corporation, the right software for your needs and budget can help increase productivity, enhance communication, cut costs and boost profits.
Types of business software
- Accounting software. Streamline day-to-day accounting while minimizing human error. Most business accounting software let you manage your company’s finances from anywhere.
- Online cloud storage. Private cloud storage can help protect your business’s files from hackers and breaches. Most online cloud storage also allows for easy sharing and real-time editing.
- Password management software. Help your employees generate secure passwords, stored in a safe place — not a sticky note on their computer monitor. Increase efficiency with password management that requires automatic sign-in.
- Backup software. Lighten your IT department’s load by preventing important data loss. Automate backups so that employees don’t have to lift a finger to protect essential files.
- Secure messaging software. Keep communications between employees and clients private and free from external interception. Browse apps for instant messaging and email.
- VPN software. Add secure, remote connections to an existing network. VPN software is essential for protecting sensitive company information among a remote workforce.
- Video conferencing software. Communicate face-to-face online with clients and employees through HD video and high-quality audio. Compare features like virtual chalkboards and screen sharing to fit your needs remotely.
- Budgeting software. Accurately forecast expenses to help your company grow. If you’ve got accountants on payroll, look for budgeting software that allows for collaboration among multiple admins.
The software marketplace includes notable names and less advertised startups vying for your personal and business dollar. When comparing products, think about the problem you need to solve, and look into customer support, contract terms and customization that can help you stay on track. Because your software is only as good as your hardware, also make sure your computer is up-to-date.
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