Are you looking to be a more efficient and successful business? We know first hand that productivity is a major factor that could be holding your company back. One way to change this is by utilizing cloud computing. Cloud computing can increase productivity on many different levels – as a general concept and in the many different types of services it puts in the hands of SMBs at a charmingly low cost.
By cutting out the ways your business unnecessarily eats up time, efforts, and resources, you can reduce costs and gain the competitive advantage to pull ahead of the competition.
What is the Cloud & Why are Businesses Using Cloud Computing?
The cloud is essentially a term used to describe using the computing power of the web for storing and processing information rather than local computers. Information is stored on virtual drives online, instead of on your computer’s hard drive.
One of the biggest advantages to moving our files to the cloud is that it removes one of the biggest data problems off our minds – that we don’t know where our files are. Rather than worrying about lost data, or accessing the data on certain machines, the cloud puts everything in a safe place accessible to everyone. Again, this doesn’t make our data lives suddenly perfect, but we can stop worrying about whether something has been saved or whether it will be available when we’re ready to hunt it down.
Not to mention the fact that you don’t lose anything if your computer gets stolen or has some kind of melt-down. As long as you can access the cloud, your data is there.
Another great thing about cloud technology is that it can often be automated. By syncing our cloud services with a computer, all we have to do is drop a file into the right folder and it automatically uploads to the cloud (assuming the internet connection is live). Or we can just save the file from whatever program it’s open in, and if it’s already in the cloud folder, it will automatically update in online storage. And, you get an unheard amount of storage for your dollars.
Why Buying Hardware is Old News
Cloud storage is also unique in that you can access as much storage as you need in an instant or downgrade as necessary. There’s no need to get a hardware upgrade or purchase storage devices with more room.
Technology is firmly shifting towards a future where automation and the cloud are the “new norm”. In ten years (even as soon as five), there isn’t even going to be hardware that you can buy. You’ll have to replace everything you already have with more sophisticated, modern solutions. Getting started sooner is much better than later.
One of the major reasons why companies need to stop buying hardware comes down to the simple fact that hardware by its very nature is NOT scalable. Hardware takes so much time to invest, install, configure and maintain that by the time you start using it, it’s probably going to be obsolete. It’s certainly not the “magic bullet” you’ve been looking for to help you grow your business. How are you supposed to continue to expand and evolve if the hardware you rely on daily can’t do the same?
Efficiency to the Extreme
It’s important that business professionals come to terms with the fact that by dropping hardware solutions and moving into the cloud (or at the very least, into the world of automation), they’re making a decision that can literally save their business.
By putting the full force of your technology into the cloud, you gain equal computing efficiency for multiple locations. Sharing data, collaborating and even communicating between two or more offices doesn’t just become easier, it becomes effortless. It’s also less likely that a single physical event (like an earthquake or other natural disasters, or even a fire or a robbery) can damage your business in the type of way that it might never recover from.
So how else can cloud computing improve your company’s productivity?
How to Increase Efficiency With Cloud Computing
1. More Efficient Collaboration
Cloud computing allows work to be done anytime, anywhere. For many small businesses, the ability to share information seamlessly and work on projects together from a distance can radically transform the way things get done.
Workers can collaborate from across the country and see the work being completed in real time. Five years ago, this wouldn’t have been possible; instead, these individuals would have called and emailed. While the time savings may seem minimal, they add up to a lot over a project’s lifetime.
Employees can also become far more productive when out in the field, instantly accessing files from the company as needed, managing work processes without having to wait until they’re back on-site, demonstrating products and service, and even processing transactions on the spot.
2. A More Efficient Workforce
There has been a large demand towards bringing your own device (BYOD) over these last few years, and more companies are realizing it is a tide that cannot be stopped. Many are starting to realize that embracing it early on, with some added security through cloud services, creates great chances for increasing productivity as well.
BYOD simply empowers the modern employee. They can work on their own devices and possibly even go remote. In fact, many employees end up putting in extra hours from their comfort of their own home with no rise in pay, and you don’t even have to ask them to do so.
Increased productivity can also be found through the better technologies in the consumer tech markets. Business cannot typically provide this type of tech in-house, but providing access on their own devices brings in an army of new tech that is ever-growing and without added cost to you.
Finally, more productivity is found with a greater in-house focus on the core of the business. With IT in the cloud, your company can focus on what they do best and do it better.
3. A More Efficient IT Infrastructure
What could be more unproductive than managing a huge IT infrastructure on your own, one that has to be big enough to serve your needs at your most demanding moments?
Treating computing as a utility service makes it more scalable and reduces bottlenecks. You get what you need, and when you need more, you simply pay for more. You’re also outsourcing the maintenance headaches to a more qualified team.
Now that your on board with using the cloud for your company, how keep everything organized so your newly found efficiency doesn’t degrade?
How to Organize Data in the Cloud
Ahh the paperless office, when our lives were going to become so much more streamlined and organized thanks to the ability to automatically retrieve virtual documents whenever needed and safely tuck them away when not using them.
With the information piling up around us, our offices are as filled with paperwork as they ever were. Only now we’ve got piles of digital storage media piled on our desks as well, and our computers are a logistical nightmare of lost files and mountains of information we don’t even remember creating.
The cloud is a wonderful innovation that can make our data organizing a bit easier. It’s isn’t automatic and it isn’t flawless, but there are some reasons it makes perfect sense. That’s why it is important to learn how to organize data in the cloud.
Step 1: Purge Unnecessary Data
After you remove the concern about whether or not your data is being stored properly, it’s crucial to set some time aside to go through everything. The cloud does come with security concerns, and leaving data lying around that you don’t know about is an unnecessary risk with zero pay-off.
For this reason, it’s best to get rid of information you don’t ever use, especially if the info is sensitive in nature.
This is a very cumbersome process, but as long as you do it right, you should only have to go through it once. Just imagine how much better you’ll feel when it’s all tidied up!
Set aside a day or a few nights to go through all your files one by one. You should open up anything you’re unsure about to check out what it is rather than drawing unwarranted assumptions.
Delete everything you don’t need. Be sure to empty your Recycle Bin as well.
Step 2: Create a Filing System
Time to catalog the mess so that you can access what you need when it’s needed.
There are many different ways to organize your files in the cloud and it really depends on the nature of your business and your personal priority list. The most important thing is this – once you come up with a system that works, stick with it. Don’t let files pile up with nowhere to go.
Set aside a folder called something like “Organize,” “Do Now,” “File,” or “Urgent.” This is where you place files that don’t have an immediate home, but – and this is very important – don’t ever leave them in there long! If files start to pile up there, they’ll quickly get out of hand.
And anytime they seem to collect there fast is a good sign your system needs a bit of tweaking and is missing some categories. Take the time to correct.
Step 3: Get Rid of Old Storage Media
It’s a good idea to go through your old storage media devices and check them too, as they may also be holding files you need or have forgotten about. The longer you leave them sitting, the more reluctant you’ll be to get rid of them, unsure about what they might hold.
So just get down to it. File by file. You may want to hold onto some of these for temp use from time to time, but to fully leverage the efficiency of the cloud, it’s best to leave them empty and remove files immediately after the storage media has served its purpose.
If you’re using physical media for backup, which isn’t a bad idea especially for critical data, store it away in a safe place and implement an ongoing update plan.
Step 4: Minimize Cloud Storage Options
It can be tempting to use a lot of different cloud storage options, and some people even use this as a way to get lots of free storage, as many providers allow you a certain amount with your initial free account. But this can get hectic pretty quick and create a situation like you had before – files all over the place and uncertainty about where everything is.
For this reason, it’s a good idea to stick with one or two services, even if that means paying for an account.
An exception to this is if you have concrete rules about which service houses what types of files. For instance, you might use Dropbox for temporary file storage and Amazon s3 for long-term. Or Dropbox for files shared with clients for your business and Google Drive for personal documents and documents only your business views. Or Evernote for client data and Flikr for photos.
Step 5: Make Sure to Regularly Clean House
Once you have a good system for data organization in place, you shouldn’t have to mess with it often, but loose ends do tend to start unraveling over time. Take stock of the situation every month or so – at least on a quarterly basis – and tidy up. You may also want to take this time to go through your devices and eliminate any files that have accumulated there as well.
- Companies everywhere are using cloud computing to keep their data safe and accessible from multiple locations.
- Buying hardware for your IT infrastructure is being put by the wayside, and the cloud is the storage solution of tomorrow.
- Cloud computing can increase your efficiency by promoting collaboration from many different locations.
- Staying organized in the cloud is possible with a filing system that promotes cybersafe data storage.
Cloud computing can increase productivity, but you have to come at it conscious of what is actually possible. Do you want to learn more about creating more efficiency in your company using cloud solutions? Check out our blog for more articles, resources pages for premium content, or simply contact us today to learn more about the services ITG offers.