Ah, the cloud – the inexplicable piece of digital technology that everyone talks about.
The reality of the cloud is simple: it’s data storage and you’re already using it.
Every time you read an email on your phone, watch a movie on your laptop, listen to music on Spotify or look at a friend’s holiday photos on Facebook, that’s the cloud in action moving data from one place to another.
This new storage paradigm is known as ‘cloud computing’ and is moving us ever closer to a paperless office environment. It’s also an incredibly secure and convenient way of working – particularly in the world of property management where being mobile, sharing information and ensuring all documents are secure are integral parts of the job.
Choosing to use a cloud storage provider to back-up your data is not only a safe way to file documents; it also ensures that everyone in the business is kept up-to-date and ‘singing from the same hymn sheet’.
The risk of human error is lessened as backing up is continuous and automatic, and is incredibly helpful if you lose or forget a device as you go for a site inspection. You can simply download all the necessary information to another device. More importantly, backing up and storing data in this way is also incredibly convenient, particularly when you spend a great deal of time away from the office.
By having all client information stored in a centralised location, it becomes instantly accessible no matter where you are, who you are with or what device you’re using.
But which provider to go with? Here’s a quick run through the current top three players.
Microsoft’s storage option is automatically built into the operating system if you’re using Windows 8 and 10. It’s a great option if the office works within Excel, Word and Outlook and you prefer to use a Windows phone or tablet when out and about.
If your business loves to work within Google (your company may be using Gmail to power its email system already) then Google Drive is a no-brainer. It requires minimal setup and attachments are saved automatically and directly to Drive. Files can be dragged and dropped and if you need to share photographs of properties, then the new addition of Google Photos is a perfect photo sharing and storage feature.
A firm favourite thanks to its reliability and ease of use. No matter what device you use or your preferred desktop application, you can store any type of file in Dropbox. It’s so easy to move files around that it makes sharing documents with colleagues as easy as pie, and the mobile version is intuitive and convenient when on-site with a client.
Once you’ve decided on the best provider for your business, you’ll be well on your way to walking off into a convenient file-sharing future, your head firmly in the cloud.