Everyone talks about the cloud – many of us are taking steps to transition there, some of us are already there. I’ve got a mix – I heavily use the cloud for collaboration, storage and personal satisfaction. I’m not quite ready to put everything there, but it is convenient and reassuring. Here are my top 5 reasons to be In The Cloud…
1. Anywhere Access
This is huge for most of us. How convenient is it to be able to log into all your email accounts, your files and folders, be able to share pictures, write a blog post, revise a document for work and send to a colleague? All of this and more is available right now. As soon as I offload pictures from my camera, I try to immediately publish them to my Microsoft Live Photo Gallery. Then I can access them from anywhere and send out a link.
2. Offsite Backup Included
We all need to backup our stuff. We constantly hear it from all the talk show hosts, don’t we? Do you do it? Most of us have our stash of stuff first on our local computers – right? When a decision is made to upload our data to the clouds, that means we now have 2 copies-less stress and we’ve got a backup. In addition to cloud storage, I also strongly urge everyone to use a backup service like Carbonite or Mozy. It’s also a good idea to have a copy of your most important things on an external drive. Redundancy is good.
3. The Mobile Employee/Entrepreneur – No Location Restrictions
Some companies are forward thinking enough to allow employees the freedom to work from various locations, maybe not even in the same city, maybe they are in the office a few days a week. The Entrepreneur with a small business can appear as if she’s in her office keeping up with work and tasks all the while doing so from some exotic location.
4. Not Tied to Software – Reduced Cost
Let’s face it, most of us need some kind of word processing, email and most likely spreadsheet and presentation software. There’s a flavor for everyone. I’m very excited about the new Microsoft Office Web Apps and how I can create, save, retrieve and share documents all from the cloud. Microsoft is also working on an Enterprise version for collaborating and exchange email in the cloud. If you like Google Docs (not as robust in my opinion), you can use that. There’s also OpenOffice, Zoho, and even IBM has its Lotus Notes software.
As a Virtual Assistant, my clients look to me to find the best ways to share information and work together efficiently and effectively. In the past 3 years, more and smarter ways have been developed and will continue to develop. Again, there are many choices/tools out there. You can look at my archives on calendar collaboration, using Microsoft Office Web Apps and go elsewhere to research other tools. With cloud services getting better, secure and easily accessible, being in the cloud is essential. Remember all the fuss about ‘The Wave’? Maybe there are lots of folks out there using it, but I just don’t hear about it much anymore.
Being in the cloud means, theoretically, we’re always available. Having balance between work and home/personal has been a hot topic for years now. But figuring all of that out is another column, probably more than one!
What are your top reasons for being in the cloud – sound off here!