May 19, 2016
Over the past several weeks, we’ve covered various ways to use available technology to increase data accuracy, expedite processes, manage time, all with the end-goal of improving our businesses and our lives. All of this technology stuff is great, until the power goes out or you hire an employee who refuses to learn any of it! (Believe me, I know). The easy one to tackle is a power outage, but unfortunately there is no quick cure for a technophobe, except a consistent dose of exposure therapy!
This past week St. Louis small businesses were hit with a pretty big spring thunderstorm, complete with tennis ball sized hail and gusts of high winds. This knocked the power out at our office for the entire day. However, we did not lose any data or lose any work time (and no, this is not a miracle)! This was due to some extraordinary planning and the incredible openness to new technology that Apple and Bob employ. The majority of our data is secured and stored in the cloud, and as many software applications as possible are cloud based as well. This means that after we returned from our lunch break and realized we would be without power for the rest of the afternoon, we packed up our files and headed home or to another location to continue working.
For the purposes of this article, we will keep the focus on public cloud storage (as opposed to ‘private’ or ‘hybrid’ versions). Most often for a small fee, companies provide safe, secure, easily accessible storage for large amounts of data (files/documents/images, etc) on their servers, and make that accessible to customers through the internet (thus, the “cloud” designation). All of these work very similar to online email portals: you go to the website and use your email or username and password to log in. After you have logged in, you have access to everything that you have saved there previously. Additionally, some of them integrate onto your desktop, much like Outlook or IMail do on a computer.
In the past, cloud-based storage was mainly used for rarely accessed data, that if left on your computer would otherwise use up valuable memory and slow down its operation. But more and more, techno-savvy businesses are finding that there are many other advantages to moving frequently accessed files and documents to the cloud. In addition to secure remote access from just about anywhere, cloud based files can be easily shared; you can also provide access to certain information to others.
There are several Cloud-Based storage platforms on the market you can choose from. Each has pros and cons and also depends on your preference. Overall their fundamental principle is the same,which is providing you off-site data storage and retrieval services. Google has its Google Drive, Microsoft called it OneDrive, Apple named it as ICloud, and Amazon refers their version by the name of AWS and of course the most well known and also the one we currently use and prefer is Dropbox.
Now, if you are reading this and are scared out of your mind, suspicious that this will work, or just are really, really uncomfortable with the idea of any of the technologies that I mentioned let me say first: you are not alone! BUT technology is coming, and it is infiltrating and changing the work place. Getting out in front of it and taking the initiative to take a class and learn this is the first step to getting over your fear of technology!
Lastly, I would like to say that Rome was not built in a day, and neither was my expertise in using technology to optimize work flows and save companies money. I would like to encourage you to reach out to us when you are curious if there is a technology that could help you at work. Or you can use my secret weapon: Google!
The Volpe Consulting & Accounting Team