Flexible and remote working had to come into play during the pandemic. After two years of upheaval, it seems that a return to the old work structures is unlikely. With internal teams, freelancers and clients working from a variety of locations, the need for secure document storage and sharing is essential for successful projects.
What is cloud document storage?
Cloud storage simply means that files are stored somewhere other than your computer’s hard drive. You might equate it to storing your money in the bank, rather than in a safe at home. These file banks are secure and the files are typically encrypted for added protection.
What are the benefits of cloud storage?
Business documents on your hard drive are only accessible when you log into your laptop or PC. In contrast, files stored in the cloud are accessible from any device. If you have permission, a password and an internet connection.
If you wish to share a hard drive document with others, it has to be emailed. This can be problematic when multiple files need to be shared with a team of people or when the file is especially large. Every amend sees the document resent to all parties and who can find the latest email when they need it?
With cloud storage, those granted access can type in their password to upload, access, review and edit documents in one central point. The latest version is always available and easy to find. It aids project management by organising and streamlining processes.
With shared access to information, everyone is kept in the loop and the latest version of documents are available. This aids transparency, communication and efficiency. Access levels can be set to allow some team members read only access and others full administration rights.
Cloud storage solutions are usually fully compliant with GDPR requirements, reassuring you that personal and confidential data is protected. They also include a range of features, including auto alerts and even auto delete which aid efficiency and help to keep track of progress.
Which are the best document storage options?
The best-known Cloud document storage and sharing options include OneDrive, SharePoint, DropBox and Apple iCloud. The most suitable depends on the current systems used in your business. Also, on the importance of high security and back up as well as your budget.
PC Mag review of 8 document storage and sharing options for 2022 gives advice which may help you to narrow down which is the best fit for your team. This review doesn’t include SharePoint, which is used in many businesses. So here is an article from PC Tablet: Does your business need SharePoint?
Whichever system you opt for, usability is important. You want all relevant team members, freelancers and clients to feel confident about using the system for the duration of the project. Free accounts, with limited storage capacity, are available. These lack the features of paid options but do provide the opportunity to test out usability before you make a final decision.
Depending on the nature of your business, you may make use of more than one cloud system. As a freelancer, I use a variety of options to fit in with my clients’ preferences.
Before you sign up, read the terms and conditions to understand what the cloud provider offers. In addition to capacity, features and backup, research the support available if anything should go wrong. This is valuable data and you need to feel confident that you are aware of yours and their liabilities. It’s also worth considering additional back-up, for added security.
Keeping a document inventory
If your business runs multiple projects or uses more than one document storage and sharing solution, it can be valuable to maintain a document inventory. This is a record of where documents are stored, who has access, who is responsible for reviews and when data is due for deletion. If a member of your team should leave, you can quickly reference which files they have access to and remove their permissions.
In summary, with remote teams, cloud storage could provide an efficient, secure and compliant means of improving communication and processes. Stay in control of project management with easy to access solutions and a document inventory.
To make creating a document inventory simple. I have produced a template that is free to download from my business document template library. Please get in touch if you would like me to brand or customise the inventory template for your business.