Are your electronic files getting out of hand? One great solution to all of your file storage needs is the cloud. There are many reasons why it’s wise to store your data in a cloud-based service instead of on your computer, not the least of them increasing your productivity. Let’s look at some of the perks of cloud files storage, and how to stay organized in the cloud.
Welcome to the Cloud
Popular cloud storage systems include Google Drive, Microsoft One Drive, DropBox, and iCloud.
With Google Drive, you can store files on your server, share files, and synchronize files across your devices.
Formerly known as SkyDrive, Microsoft OneDrive allows you to store personal data and files in the cloud, share files, and sync files across Windows Phone, iOS, Android, macOS computers, Windows computers, and even the Xbox 360 and Xbox1 consoles. You can upload Microsoft Office Documents to OneDrive.
Dropbox offers cloud storage, client software, file synchronization, and personal cloud.
iCloud is the Apple cloud computing and storage service. You can store music, photos, and documents on remote servers to download to iOS, Windows, or macOS devices, send and share files to others, and manage your device if it gets lost or stolen.
Benefits of the Cloud Files Storage
One positive aspect of using cloud storage is that it’s inexpensive. Google Drive, for example, is free up to 15 GB (30 GB for businesses). 100 GB costs $2 a month. 1 TB costs $10 a month. Its most expensive plan is $300 for 30 TB, but few people actually need that much space. One caveat is that if you use GMail or Google Photos, those count toward your storage limit. OneDrive, iCloud, and Dropbox have similarly tiered plans.
Cloud storage is relatively secure. The problem with storing data locally on a hard drive or mobile device is that a virus could corrupt it, or a mobile device could get lost or stolen. With cloud services, you don’t have to worry about those things.
You’re also not taking up space on your computer, you can still get access to your documents even if your computer crashes, and most cloud services provide you with more free space than you’re ever likely to need.
One problem with cloud storage is how easily file systems can get cluttered. Without any structure or process, the cloud can get pretty messy. Just like with anything else, you need a system.
Steps to Organize Your Cloud
- Have no more than 10-15 main folders, organized by either subject or role. For example, subjects could be parenting, family, work, volunteering. Roles could be parent, CEO, volunteer, uncle.
- Create subfolders only as needed. Opening new subfolders ahead of time will only add clutter to your situation.
- Use naming conventions for all of your files. Start with a timestamp: YYYY_MM_DD. Next, add a primary subject area. You can also include a sub-subject. Finally, write a description. An example would look like this: YYYY_MM_DD_Documents_Invoices_clientxyz.
But wait, there’s more! When saving your files, save them to a temporary folder and only move them to a permanent location after reviewing them. We tend to save files without even thinking about it. Often, we’ll look at the same file later and conclude we didn’t need to save it at all.
You may want to look into user encryption for sensitive data. Encryption takes your data and scrambles it, making it readable only to you and your intended recipient via passcode. Hacking happens, so it’s wise to protect your data.
If you’re looking for a reasonably safe way to manage your data, cloud storage may be the way to go. Even if your computer crashes or catches a virus, all is not lost because you’ll still have your data.
You organize your cloud data in a way similar to how you would on your computer. Don’t overdo it with the sub folders; they will only cause confusion. Besides, how many folders do you really want to open to get to a document?
Further, you don’t have to save every document you create; that Family Yard Sale sign won’t be necessary after Saturday morning.
Organizing your cloud storage will help maximize your effectiveness because it will take you less time to find specific information, thus making you more efficient.
If you have additional questions about cloud organization, contact us at Structured Space.