If the idea of storing your most important documents in the cloud causes panic and dismay, then you need to read this article.
It’s okay. No, really. It’s okay to be nervous of the cloud. After all, have you been there? Seen it? Touched it? I haven’t! So yeah, the idea of the cloud can be a little disconcerting, especially if you are old enough to remember when 500 megabytes was an acceptable size for a desktop PC’s hard drive.
The cloud is a relatively new development for business computing. The general idea has been around since the 1970s, but the cloud didn’t become widespread until the very late 2000s. And it’s still gaining acceptance.
Why should you trust your company’s documentation to something with a nebulous-sounding name and no home address? And what exactly do we mean by company documentation?
What Kind of Documentation Do Businesses Need?
Basically, business documentation means a written record of how you run your business. Being in IT, I automatically think of documentation in a technical sense: the steps you’ve taken to write some software or maybe a program's user guide. But there’s a wider definition of documentation. Business documentation can be broken down into these general categories:
- Administration – General policies and procedures, reports, etc.
- HR – Employee benefits, training, and onboarding procedures.
- Marketing and publishing– Information posted on your website, blog, social media, newsletters, etc.
- Employee roles and activities– Or where employees can document their daily doings.
- Technology and miscellaneous user guides– Self-explanatory, or see my definition above.
That’s a lot of information. Imagine how you would feel if it went missing — say, in a tragic hard-drive failure. This leads us neatly to our next question:
Why Store Your Documentation in the Cloud?
While the idea of storing things in the cloud doesn’t cause me panic, the idea of losing everything stored on my hard drive does. That’s why I’d recommend at least backing up your company documentation to the cloud, even if you don’t want it to live there. Here’s what you can gain from storing such information on someone else’s mega-servers:
- Accessibility. You don’t have to be connected to your office intranet or your work computer to access your documentation. You can do it anywhere you get an internet connection. And with smartphones coming equipped with Wi-Fi hotspots, that’s nearly anywhere.
- Usability. Many people can access and work on documents at the same time when you use Google Apps for Business or a similar service. Google also backs up all your changes instantly, so things are very rarely lost.
- Savings. It’s often much more cost-effective to buy a subscription to a cloud-based service than to invest in regular software. This is especially true if you only have a few employees.
- Security. You can set permissions in Google Apps and other cloud storage providers that strictly control who sees what. And because cloud service companies can afford huge storage systems, downtime and lost data is extremely rare. Finally, you can expect your files to be stored in encrypted form, adding another layer of protection. If you’re still concerned, check out Google’s FAQs on security here.
Whether you use it as your company documentation’s permanent home or as a failsafe backup plan, storing important information in the cloud comes with some great benefits. As always, you can discuss your needs with Techsperts — we’re always here to help!