It used to be that a company would share all its files using a Network, or LAN (Local Area Network), that connected all the computers in the company together. This network connects to the internet through the company server and remains the best way to work in an office environment.

However, having a flexible working strategy in place can free up time, allowing employees to work from different locations but still having the ability to work cohesively. The biggest reason for this is the internet is able to share files between employees easily and seamlessly.

Here we look at the essential apps your business needs to share files and work. 

If you want to send large data files to clients then you need YouSendIt, one of the most widely used online transfer services today. The basic service allows you to send file sup to 100MB in size that can be accessed up to 10 times. What we like about YouSendIt is that its business packages are scalable, so you can effectively grow the account with your business. You'll need to buy a yearly account but for a business with 20 employees this works out currently at $10/month per user.

DropBox is changing the way most small businesses are doing business as it allows you instant access to folders and files stored online. That's not all, as you can allow users access rights to folders, so sharing online is easy. The basic service is free and each user gets 2GB of online storage space. If you're looking to store more, the DropBox Pro account ($9.99 a month) steps this up to 50GB. 

Yugma is a free application that is hosted on the web and is Java-based. The great thing about it is is works across Windows, Mac and Linux computers, so no matter how your employees are deployed it'll work. This workgroup application allows you to 10 users into a virtual meeting, and even allows you to share desktops, as well as whiteboard and file annotates. Another very great feature of Yugma is that you can embed it into your web site.

It used to be that sharing files and folders used to involved setting up and running a separate FTP site (File Transfer Protocol) site from your server. If your business, or your clients, still use this approach, FireFTP is a free, secure, cross-platform FTP client for Mozilla Firefox that just happens to be one of the quickest ways to use FTP to share very large files online. It can handle multiple accounts, supports SSL for secure sharing, and can do directory synchronisations.