So you have chosen one of the best cloud storage providers and moved your business files to the cloud. But are you getting the most out of your cloud data storage and doing all you can to protect your files?
The best cloud storage for business has many features that could benefit your business. It allows you to access your files from anywhere, which is ideal for employees working from home or on the go, and it also offers many collaborative tools that can eliminate the technical difficulties of teamwork.
Additionally, most of the major cloud providers keep your work encrypted and secure, although there are potential security risks to you and your customers if you do not properly manage your cloud storage for backups.
In this article, we’ll walk you through five ways to improve your cloud data storage experience and protect your files.
1. Stay on top of security
The major cloud data storage providers have state-of-the-art and regularly updated security systems, including encryption and firewalls, so your files are likely more secure in the cloud than if you stored them locally.
There are still potential risks, but most of them can be thwarted by understanding and using these security features correctly and by training your employees in good online security.
It is important that all users have strong passwords. Many people use the same password for all of their online accounts, which is dangerous: If a website where an employee has a personal account is hacked, hackers could gain access to their work accounts as well.
The solution is to use the best password managers; these are highly secure and allow users to have different passwords for all of their accounts without having to remember them all.
Business cloud users should also use two-factor authentication, which means that even if a password is compromised, there is an additional layer of security that would prevent an attacker from gaining access to the account. As an administrator, you should be able to force all users to configure this.
Additionally, make sure Account Alerts are turned on. This means that, if there is any activity such as connections from a new device, you will be notified. Most of the time, these alerts don’t worry you, but they help you act quickly in the rare event that an unauthorized person tries to access your files.
2. Make the most of synchronization
A big advantage of cloud storage is the immediate synchronization of your files and folders. With the best file sharing services provided by cloud data storage providers, your entire team will be able to access the most recent files wherever they are, which is especially useful with more and more people working from home. .
If you are not a fan of the default browser-based cloud storage interfaces, a useful feature offered by many vendors is the ability to integrate your cloud folders into your operating system’s file structure, such as Windows File Explorer or Mac Finder.
Once you’ve downloaded a needed app, your cloud-stored files will appear as a folder on your computer, and as long as you have an internet connection, the sync should be automatic and seamless. If you have a lot of files that don’t sync regularly – an archive of old, rarely viewed recordings, for example – then it’s worth checking to see if your storage provider has an option to store these files “cold”. .
This is when files are kept on less performing hardware, like tape, and are not synchronized live, so they must be manually retrieved to be accessible. The advantage is that it can save a lot of money. Google and Microsoft Azure are two platforms that offer cold storage.
3. Keep things organized
Data storage in the cloud allows you to sort your files into a folder structure, just like you would on a traditional hard drive. If you want to share access with your team, it’s important to have a clearly planned structure and to establish rules for consistent file naming so that everyone can find the files they need.
Do it early on, rather than sorting out as you go, or you’ll inevitably end up with an unwaterable mess. A good folder structure is also important for security, as it helps you manage permissions. For example, if you create a folder and restrict access to company officials, any files you place in it will be kept private. It’s much easier than setting file permissions for each individual file.
In addition to a traditional folder system, you should consider the additional organizational tools that come with your cloud storage. These vary from provider to provider, but, for example, one useful tool found in Google Drive that you may not be familiar with is the ability to add a shortcut to a file in a different folder.
To do this, select the file and press Shift + Z. You can then select a second folder in which to place a shortcut. For editing purposes, this is the same file, rather than being two separate copies. This is useful when a file concerns several teams or projects.
4. Collaborate with live documents
With files stored on local drives, you may have attempted to have the same file opened by multiple employees, only to overwrite each other’s work. But with cloud data storage, files can be viewed and edited simultaneously, making a lot of tasks easier.
For example, if you have an accounts spreadsheet hosted on Google Sheets, all of your accounts team members can simultaneously add details about the accounts they deal with from separate devices. There is also no need to worry about closing the sheet so that someone else can take turns accessing it!
It is also very easy to follow the changes. If this manager of the accounting team thinks a sheet number is wrong, they can see the change history of the affected cell and know who entered it and when, which will help identify how the error occurred. has been committed. While this specific feature is unique to Google Drive, other cloud collaboration services include their own change history features.
You may always wonder how, with multiple users working on a file, one user might accidentally delete another’s work. But many cloud services offer version management, which is the ability to revert to a previous version of the document with just a few clicks. This is very useful if threads intersect and you want to undo changes that a team member made in error.
5. Use integrations
Other software that you use within your business can be integrated with your cloud data storage provider, allowing for smooth interaction between processes.
For example, you can use the Slack chat app for team communication. It can be integrated with multiple cloud providers including Google Drive and Dropbox. This means you can search your files without having to exit the Slack app, share cloud files in chats, or even post an automated message when a folder changes.
Another example is HelloSign, which allows users to sign documents quickly and easily. With this integration installed in Dropbox or Google Drive, you can sign documents in your storage with just a few clicks.
Dropbox integrates particularly well with Salesforce (link only in the United States), the customer relationship management system used by many companies. You can set it up to transfer files from Dropbox directly to your Salesforce records, which can simplify your workflow and mean you have access to sales records wherever you are.
These are just a few examples of the many integrations available through some cloud providers. However, in order to maintain a clean and efficient system and to minimize potential security risks, you must remember to periodically check which applications have access to your cloud data storage and to delete the ones that you no longer use.
By following these tips, you can be sure that your cloud files are safe and secure, and many aspects of your day-to-day work will run much more smoothly with the benefits of storing data in the cloud.
Further reading on cloud storage
Be sure to read our in-depth reviews of the providers mentioned in this feature, including Google Drive, Dropbox, and Dropbox Business. Also check out our guide to the best cloud storage for business and find other helpful tips about cloud storage in our article on how to reduce cloud storage costs.