011 – [Deep Dive] Using Cloud Storage Effectively in your Business

This is a deep dive episode of the Tech of Business podcast.

The three most popular cloud storage locations I use with my clients and hear rumblings about are Dropbox, Google Drive and OneDrive.

In general terms, these products provide file storage and access independent of the device. In other words: you can access your files from your phone, your computer, your tablet, other people’s devices and anywhere you can get internet access.

The trick to using them effectively lies in creating systems and processes around who/what/when and where.

Cloud storage is an inexpensive and beneficial tool for businesses of any size, including solo businesses.

Having a good cloud storage process will allow you to:

  • Expand your storage limits without purchasing additional hardware
  • Create a file backup system
  • Share files without clogging email inboxes
  • Collaborate on projects, documents and presentations
  • Work from multiple locations and with different devices

All three tools have free and paid tiers. There is a lot we can do at the free level, so let’s keep expenses low and workflow high.

Tip #1: Platform Decision

  • When I share with my clients, teammates and vendors, I select the cloud storage we use.
  • When clients and vendors want to share files with me, I let them decide which platform we will use.

Here are the steps I recommend for implementing cloud storage organization

  • Decide on your primary cloud storage platform
  • Create five top level folders
    • Personal
    • Business – Backups
    • Business – Development
    • Business – Client Facing
    • Business – Public Facing
  • Store files directly in each of these folders or refine further by platform/vendor/client/service.

The key is to create a system so that when you bring a new member onto your team, get hired by a new client or take on a new initiative, it’ll be easy to store and retrieve your crucial files.

Tip #2: Sharing Options

  • Between you and a team member who is creating content: equal rights to upload, delete and modify files
  • Between you and a team member who is viewing content: share folder or file in read only mode. This will help keep files intact and avoid errors.
  • Between you and clients or you and vendors: equal rights or read only, depending on roles (same as above)

Automation and Synchronization

  • Automatically back up certain folders on your local computer to the cloud
  • Automatically having website backups stored in the cloud
  • Using the native app to keep a folder on your local computer in sync with the version that is in the cloud
    • Which files and folders you want to be able to access when you’re working offline?
    • Which files and folders update regularly and need to be shared?

There are so many uses of cloud storage solutions in business (and life!) I’m curious to know how you’re using it to stay ahead of your competition and keep moving your business forward. Comment below with how you use Cloud Storage!

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