File management is a tedious but essential part of every business. Effective file management saves time while increasing your team’s productivity as well as helps you keep track of everything for a stress-free work environment.
One important question to ask is will you store your data locally or in the cloud?
Local storage comes in the form of devices that can store large amounts of data and can be accessed by a networked computers in your office. The most common types of local systems are a Server (Windows) or a NAS (Network Attached Storage).
A server is a computer that can store files and can be accessed by other computers connected on the same network. It will also perform other tasks within your IT operations so depending on your setup you likely will have a Windows Server in your network . A NAS, similar to a server, but without the smarts and additional function capability, it is simply a storage location on your network.
Online storage system is where we can store digital data that can be accessed remotely via the internet. This is more commonly referred to as Cloud Storage.
Choosing between local and online
Deciding which kind of storage to use for your business can be tricky. Ultimately, it boils down to your needs and there is not a one size fits all approach. Local storage offer faster storing and retrieval of data. However, it can mean that accessing your files remotely can be a little more challenging. In todays mobile first world access to data is critical. Where you are using large files such as CAD, inDesign, Photoshop etc, then local storage is going to be a must for those staff.
Cloud storage, can be accessed as long as you’re connected to the internet. The speed of your internet and the number of users in your office is going to dictate the experience.Cloud storage can be more cost effective and is certainly much more salable with the right solution. With the right infrastructure in place cloud solutions can offer better flexibility and value to the business, especially when you have remote workers.
Getting a cloud platform can make a lot more sense than trying to continue managing a file server internally. And remember, there is no reason you can’t have a mix of solutions to deliver the right outcomes for your business.
Making the move
There are several cloud platforms you can choose from. There is Apple’s iCloud, Dropbox, Google Drive, and Microsoft’s OneDrive and SharePoint. Each of these have different applications and associated processes, so make sure to know them before you start transferring your files. Take note of the unsupported files and names, folder and library structures, list-views, and other limits prior to the transfer so that you will be able to store everything properly.
Simply dumping all the contents of your local storage to the cloud will not work either. You won’t be able to find anything and everything will be a mess, causing a lot of confusion for your team. Spend time familiarizing the new system and build an environment where you can easily find and access your files. Think carefully about the type of data, how it is accessed and how it is used to begin to structure the environment that you want your staff to use.