For many entrepreneurs, freelancers, and business managers, one of the most useful and exciting technological innovations of the modern Internet age doesn’t involve virtual reality headsets, social media, or the “sharing economy”. In fact, it might be the most utilitarian category of online services available, but its lack of pizzazz doesn’t mean it’s not absolutely vital to managing your business and staying organized!

Keep Your Files Protected

Cloud storage and file-syncing services have revolutionized file availability, no matter where you might be or which device you have in your possession at any given time. Gone are the days when leaving an important document or spreadsheet on your desktop computer at the office meant that document was inaccessible – now files can be accessed from your laptop, mobile phone, or tablet. In addition to accessibility, cloud storage also provides a readily-available means to backup files. If the hard drive in your desktop or laptop computer crashes, and you have backed up your data on a cloud storage service, you won’t permanently lose valuable files. Providers and services such as Dropbox, Google Drive and Microsoft OneDrive allow both individuals and businesses to store and access files from a variety of devices and platforms. All that’s required is an Internet connection, and utilizing file syncing, or syncing files locally on a device and in the cloud, allows you to continue working even in places and times when the Internet is unavailable.

Create A Consistent Method For Naming Your Files And Folders

Before you move all of your digital files to the cloud, it is important to have a plan in place to ensure your files are properly organized and secure. One of the biggest mistakes that cloud file storage users make at the beginning is failing to implement a system for naming new and existing files and folders in a consistent and logical manner. While most cloud file storage providers offer advanced search tools for locating files and folders stored in their system, failing to properly implement a naming system can result in misplacement and even accidental deletion of important data. File names should be unique, simply because there is nothing worse than losing track of a file you were working on or accidentally overwriting one file with another because you confused one file with another. While filename uniqueness is important, being too unique and therefore esoteric can backfire as well, because if you open a folder and don’t immediately know what’s stored inside, you have a problem!

Find The Perfect Balance between Uniqueness and Accessibility

The best way to develop the perfect balance between uniqueness and accessibility includes developing a file or folder name format that includes relevant information such as a client name, date, and a description of the contents. If you are storing a spreadsheet for a client named Bob’s Diner, which contains payroll data covering the month of March, a logical file name would be “Bobs Diner – Payroll – March 2016,” as “March Payroll” or “Diner Payroll March” doesn’t indicate the specific client or year the file was created. It is important to note that if one of your employees or colleagues will be creating, storing, and organizing many of your files and folders, it is important to ensure that they are on the same page as you when it comes to creating a naming system.

In our next post, we will discuss methods to keep your personal and professional files better organized, backed up and secure, both onsite and in the cloud.