Many of us will remember that not so long ago the sturdy filing cabinet was an essential and irreplaceable part of any office. Once holding all the secrets to our business, locked each night with the humble key, we relied on the folders and boxes of alphabetised paper files it held. Now, long forgotten, filing cabinets have been replaced by the illusive ‘cloud’ providing more storage space than one could ever need.

Too often, however, I see clients keeping their private and crucial business information on their computer desktops or hard drives rather than the cloud – why?

 The question that too many of us are wondering – what on earth is the so called ‘cloud’?

Put simply, the cloud is a digital filing cabinet providing oodles of storage space specifically for data. It is, in essence, a physical data centre accessible via software and services that run on the Internet. Think Netflix, Google Drive or Apple’s iCloud – all of these cloud-based services store data on the cloud which you can access via the Internet.

The cloud is your filing cabinet and the cloud-based service provides the key to unlocking and accessing the information inside it.

Consider Google Documents (a tool offered on cloud-based service Google Drive) – it allows you to create and work on a document from one device in one location (perhaps on your laptop at work) and then re-open and continue to work on it from another device and location (perhaps on your phone on the bus ride home from work). The only reason this is possible is because the file is stored safely in the cloud and Google’s Google Drive service allows you to easily access it whenever you want (provided you are connected to the Internet).

Why should I use cloud-based filing systems? Isn’t my hard drive safe enough?

Time and time again I see people’s desktops and hard drives bursting with important files that they use every day to run their business without considering what would happen if their computers suddenly crashed or were stolen. All their hard work and valuable information would be lost. Thinking, ‘it won’t happen to me, I’ll be careful’ is not enough.

Sometimes clients have their information backed-up onto exterior hard drives or USB sticks, but they don’t do this regularly or often enough for this to be considered reliable. Why spend valuable time backing up information when you could use a system that already has all your most up to date files stored on it instantly and safely? 

The benefits of a cloud-based filing system

Using cloud-based filing systems can seem a bit scary to some, and the thought of trying to set it up and switch from your current system can be daunting. We can help you make this transition to an efficient filing system so that you can access everything you need with just a few clicks of your mouse.  

Still not convinced? Here’s a list of benefits to using a cloud based system:

  • If there is a disaster (e.g. Fire) all your documents are stored securely and accessible online.
  • If you lose or break your laptop all information is still accessible online. You can also delete things remotely so no one can access this on a lost laptop.
  • You can access anything stored on the cloud from any device and any location, even when you’re on holiday (as long as you have an internet connection).
  • You can share documents easily with colleagues and even work on the same document in real-time.
  • When your teams can access, edit and share documents anytime, from anywhere, they’re able to do more together, and do it better.
  • Businesses can offer more flexible working perks to employees so they can enjoy the work-life balance that suits them – without productivity taking a hit.
  • Organise and store files more efficiently and precisely than ever before: Generally for business you may like to consider setting up some or all of the following folders and sub folders (folders created within the main folder):
  • Accounts
  • Annual tax returns
  • Accident reports
  • Bank statements
  • Budgets
  • Business expenses
  • Credit card statements
  • Health & Safety
  • Income statements
  • Inventories
  • Marketing
    • Blogs
    • Lead Generation
    • Logos
    • LinkedIn
    • Facebook
    • Flyers
  • Payroll
  • Quarterly tax returns
  • Resources
  • Receipts
  • Sales
  • Travel logs
  • Templates
  • Website
  • Human Resources:
    • Staff names (create sub folders to store all information relating to that staff member.) These files can include:
      • contracts,
      • completed employment applications,
      • actual employment offer letters,
      • employee handbook or policies,
      • employment agreements,
      • performance appraisals,
      • employee attendance records,
      • employee termination letters,
      • tax statements,
      • payroll records,
      • insurance and any other forms the employee signed during time with the company.
    • Company: add company related information in this folder such as,
      • Business Plan
      • Legal documents
      • Companies office registration number
      • Inventory
      • Intellectual Property – trademark applications, copyright filings, patent filings and patents, licenses and confidentiality or non-disclosure agreements.
    • Clients: set up a folder for each client. Within each client folder you can set up sub folders for example for Contracts, Invoicing etc.

Already doing all of this? Great! What about completing tasks on time or replying to clients within a suitable timeframe? Check out my blog posts below to continue improving the efficiency of your business. 

Email Automation – how to contact clients instantly without moving a finger.

Task Management – find out which online task management platform I think is best for your business.

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