In our last blog post, we discussed some of the “why’s and how’s” of digital documentation. The added efficiencies, savings, and flexibility afforded by digital documentation make the “why’s” a no-brainer. The “how’s” include a variety of software, such as Expensify and Shoeboxed, and hardware items like smart phones and digital scanners.
But once you’ve made up your mind to go digital, what should you do about storage?
These days, a single consumer hard drive can store an awful lot of data. A hard drive smaller than a paperback book can now store a terabyte of data, and the cost of those drives continues to fall. Because of this, many small and medium-sized organizations don’t need much hardware to store their data anymore.
But the question of data storage is about more than just space. While backing up data on in-house hard drives is typically good practice, it isn’t sufficient on its own.
Cue the cloud…
Cloud-based storage and productivity tools increase efficiencies, facilitate collaboration, and improve data security. Here’s how embracing the cloud can help your organization —
Ease of Access
When your data resides on a single hard drive, accessing it requires you to physically connect with that drive. If you’d like to transfer that data to another device, you’ll have to rely on e-mail (if the file is small enough), USB drives, CD’s, or other portable media. What’s more, it’s all but impossible to know precisely when and where you’ll need access to a certain file.
Away from the office and need a file that’s on your office computer? You’re out of luck unless you want to make the trek back to work.
With cloud-based storage, on the other hand, your data is accessible from any device, from anywhere on Earth with an internet connection. That means that your files are always available whenever and wherever you need them.
Share and Collaborate
That ease of access also makes it so virtual teams can more easily share information and collaborate on projects. Cloud-based productivity platforms, such as Google’s G Suite, give teams shared access to files no matter how much distance is between them.
For example, let’s imagine you want to review your organization’s current expenses for the month. With a spreadsheet hosted on a shared Google Drive, you can access that financial information instantly, from anywhere. And when your bookkeeper needs to update the spreadsheet, they simply access the file from their device and implement the changes. Next time you log onto the drive and access the file, the updated information will already be there waiting for you. No need to request files from your bookkeeper, and no need to transfer data physically or electronically.
Plus, that same functionality which works for two people can also work for entire teams of professionals. Granting shared access to files across your virtual team makes communication and collaboration exceedingly simple.
Many people are wary of storing their data online — especially when it comes to sensitive financial information. While hacking is a real concern for all organizations, reliable cloud storage is typically more secure than in-house digital or paper documentation. While hacking into a sophisticated cloud service like Google Drive takes highly specialized skills and knowledge, walking into an office and swiping a file takes little more than a bit of acting.
A reliable cloud-based service like Google Drive or Dropbox comes with a team of the most sophisticated internet security experts working to keep your data safe. Odds are, your own in-house network doesn’t have the same level of security. Think of it this way — is your money safer stored with other peoples’ in a bank vault, or stuffed under your mattress?
Perhaps even more importantly, cloud storage helps safeguard your data against loss. Think about the files stored on the device you’re using right now. Are there any files on there that would be horrible to lose? If so, are they backed up somewhere? How secure is that backup?
With cloud-based storage services, those questions are largely irrelevant. That’s because cloud services employ significant loss-prevention, backup, and redundancy protocols to ensure that your files don’t disappear.
With its increased security, efficiency, and flexibility, the cloud has become an indispensable tool for organizations of every size. So, equip your virtual team with the tools it needs to succeed — embrace the cloud.
BELAY offers expert-level options for organizations looking for bookkeeping, content marketing and administrative support. To learn more about our virtual solutions, go here.