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IT news and analysis for small and medium-size businesses

Small Business Reviews

  • Review

    Quicken 2013 vs. Mint: Is Intuit's free service better than its flagship software?

    Posted November 9, 2012 - 3:56 pm

    When it comes to using your computer to manage your money, Intuit's Quicken lineup was pretty much the only game in town—until the upstart cloud service Mint.com came along in 2006. Mint can do almost anything Quicken can do, but it's free and you don't need to install any software.
  • Review

    Akitio Cloud Hybrid: Convenient NAS and USB storage in one

    Posted October 14, 2012 - 9:42 pm

    It's nice to be versatile, and the $105 Akitio Cloud Hybrid is just that. You can use this single-bay drive box either for network-attached storage (NAS) via the unit's ethernet jack, or for direct-attached storage (DAS) on a PC or Mac via the box's USB 3.0 port.
  • Review

    How to replace missing Start button in Windows 8

    Posted October 5, 2012 - 2:43 pm

    A Start menu substitute can greatly reduce the shock of using Windows 8. Here are three alternatives that produce a reasonable experience.
  • Review

    Payroll services in the cloud: Intuit vs. ADP

    Posted September 26, 2012 - 12:24 pm

    Nobody pays attention to your payroll system unless it's not working. When you're running a small business, it's no small task to please your staffers every payday and satisfy Uncle Sam at tax time. Larger companies employ payroll personnel to calculate taxes and withholdings, and to manage IRS forms correctly. But if you're responsible for cutting the checks at a smaller company, online services can automate most of the payroll chores.
  • Review

    Review: 6 free email servers for small business

    Posted September 17, 2012 - 9:36 pm

    hMail Server (Windows only) comes in first, Citadel (Linux only) is a close second.
  • Review

    Mac buyers' guide: What you need to know before heading to the Apple Store

    Posted September 11, 2012 - 4:00 pm

    You've finally decided to purchase a new Mac -- whether it's your first, a replacement, or for school -- you'll need to consider a lot of things. Do you buy a notebook, emphasizing portability; or get an iMac, focusing on power in your home? Or maybe – with an all-day battery in concert with instant-on reliability - all you need is an iPad? If you're not sure what to get, here's what you need to keep in mind before heading to the Apple store.
  • Review

    Store your logins in Norton Identity Safe

    Posted August 14, 2012 - 10:48 am

    Users of Symantec's Norton line of security products have long had access to its password management tools. But you no longer need to be a paying Norton user to get access to Norton Identity Safe, a standalone product that makes password management a (relatively) easy task.
  • Review

    Sage 50 Complete Accounting 2013: Advanced accounting tools for small business

    Posted August 14, 2012 - 10:41 am

    At $369 for a single user ($669 for three licenses, and $899 for five), Sage 50 Complete Accounting 2013 isn't the cheapest way to keep your small business's books. But if you are well versed in accounting practices and want to implement your own preferences where choices are available, Sage 50 Complete provides all the controls you could wish for.
  • Review

    Intuit QuickBooks Pro 2012 review: The perennial leader stays strong

    Posted August 14, 2012 - 10:30 am

    This package remains a solid choice of accounting software for small-business owners unfamiliar with accounting.
  • Review

    Accounting software for small business

    Posted August 14, 2012 - 8:37 am

    Accounting is the language of business, and good accounting software can save you hundreds of hours at the business equivalent of Berlitz.
  • Review

    Acclivity AccountEdge Pro 2012 for Windows: A friendly accounting program for relatively inexperienced business users

    Posted August 14, 2012 - 8:36 am

    AccountEdge Pro keeps things simple. You can get a single-user edition of AccountEdge Pro for $299, and each additional user for an existing installation costs $149. The upgrade price for existing customers is $159.
  • Review

    Protect your assets: A buying guide to office security systems

    Posted July 31, 2012 - 8:53 am

    We talk frequently about cybersecurity, discussing how to protect your business's data by using strong passwords, deploying antimalware utilities, and keeping your computers safe with the latest patches and updates. This time, the focus is on premises security, or protecting your business's physical assets from burglary and vandalism.
  • Review

    10 e-commerce platforms make selling simpler

    Posted July 3, 2012 - 10:37 am

    We take a hands-on look at 10 e-commerce tools that can help businesses large and small sell products and/or services online. Insider (registration required)
  • Review

    What separates business routers from consumer routers?

    Posted June 5, 2012 - 1:51 pm

    If you're in the market for a new router for your small business, you might be tempted by the flashy features, high speeds, and low cost of consumer-oriented routers. The latest models, based on the IEEE 802.11ac standard, look particularly attractive.
  • Review

    GTD (Getting Things Done) app recommendations from real small-business owners

    Posted May 31, 2012 - 2:59 pm

    Getting Things Done (GTD) apps are becoming de rigueur for anyone who needs to manage their time, from small-business owners, to employees, to CEOs. I asked a random selection of real-world users what their go-to GTD apps were, and the results surprised me: No one used any single tool in a vacuum, but rather used a combination of software and applications to get things done.
  • Review

    Four mobile payment systems tested and compared

    Posted May 30, 2012 - 1:37 pm

    Accepting credit cards used to be expensive and complicated: You needed to set up a merchant account with a bank, you had to buy or lease a card reader, and you had to pay a setup fee, subscription fees, and fees on every sale you made. Today, a swarm of credit card processing apps for smartphones and tablets has rendered the process easier, cheaper, and highly mobile.
  • Review

    HP Officejet Pro 8100 ePrinter review: Fast, inexpensive operation

    Posted May 8, 2012 - 11:50 am

    If you're looking for a low-priced color laser printer for your small office, look again: For a mere $150 (as of May 1, 2012), you can obtain high-speed, good-quality color printing with HP's Officejet Pro 8100 ePrinter. This classily-styled color inkjet printer has Wi-Fi, USB, and ethernet, and it can handle up to 1250 pages of printing per month. Most important, its inks are cheaper per page than the toner supplies from any comparably priced color laser.
  • Review

    See what people are saying about your business with VenueSeen

    Posted May 2, 2012 - 12:35 pm

    If you own or run a small local business or a franchise such as a restaurant or shop, you probably care about your reputation. Word-of-mouth marketing it nothing new: People are social, and tend to share their experiences. But with new tools such as FourSquare, Instagram, and Facebook, people don't just share: They broadcast, and you should be listening. VenueSeen (plans start at $20/month; 14-day free trial) lets you listen to what people say about your business and look at the photos they share.
  • Review

    Review: FileMaker Pro 12 and FileMaker Pro Advanced 12

    Posted April 4, 2012 - 9:23 pm

    With new versions of its entire FileMaker product line (FileMaker Pro, FileMaker Pro Advanced, FileMaker Server, FileMaker Server Advanced, and FileMaker Go), FileMaker, Inc. extends its dominance of the Mac OS and iOS database world by offering improvements that will be valued by every type of FileMaker user: end users both in the office and out, and developers of every level of ability, from amateurs to aces.
  • Review

    NetSpot helps you optimize your Wi-Fi networks

    Posted November 29, 2011 - 3:55 pm

    When you set up a Wi-Fi network, whether using access points (base stations) from Apple or another vendor, you're usually playing a guessing game. Where should I put a base station to get the best coverage and performance? Or multiple base stations? Apple provides some tools to help, including the somewhat hidden Wi-Fi Diagnostics program (buried in /System/Library/CoreServices/), but using them requires some expertise, as well as keeping your eye on ever-changing signal-strength numbers. NetSpot bypasses the technical in favor of the visual. This free site-survey software is a remarkable aid in laying out even a small-home network, using a Mac laptop as your survey tool.
  • Review

    Useful sites for small business

    Posted September 29, 2011 - 9:46 am

    Whether you're running a business out of your den or from a penthouse in the sky, you don't have time or money to waste on second-rate tools. These well-designed services and resources are among the best the Web offers for small and midsize businesses. Some include apps for smartphones and downloads for your desktop, but all of them provide the bulk of their features within a Web browser.
  • Review

    CrashPlan Pro makes SMB backup a snap

    Posted July 11, 2011 - 2:11 pm

    I've been using CrashPlan's consumer offering for some time now, and have been very happy with it. So when I heard about their Pro version aimed at small-to-medium businesses (up to 200 workstations), I was naturally intrigued. Much like the consumer version, CrashPlan Pro (various pricing) works by installing a desktop client, which uploads your files onto an online server for safe-keeping in the cloud.
  • Review

    Review: Meraki Enterprise Cloud Controller

    Posted June 1, 2011 - 10:13 am

    Meraki's friendly, cloud-managed wireless LAN solution is a fantastic option for small businesses, distributed networks, and overworked admins
  • Review

    Cisco's AnyConnect Secure Mobility Solution may leave SMBs out in the cold

    Posted March 21, 2011 - 10:17 am

    Cisco's AnyConnect Secure Mobility Solution is a two-box enterprise play that poses some problems for small and midsized businesses.
  • Review

    Review: Superior storage for small networks

    Posted March 15, 2011 - 4:36 pm

    A small-business NAS with Big Iron roots, Netgear's ReadyNAS is full-featured and flexible, with options for SOHO users up through enterprise workgroups
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