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CloudsI have had a recurring conversation with some of my clients and colleagues that I need to share.

They tell me they won’t work in the cloud…I tell them they already are.

I’ve been a cloud convert for over 4 years now. I abandoned my desktop based email with glee and can operate my business from any Internet connection or device.

  • If I need to check my email? No problem.
  • Send an invoice? No problem.
  • Pull up a file? No problem.
  • Get the idea?
  • I run a virtual business. My files and information are stored in the cloud—on secure, redundant, password protected cloud servers by providers I trust.

I have had many people respond to my cloud based business in shock and horror. They say they would never trust their private data to the cloud. They will only check their email on Microsoft Outlook on their desktop. They will only save their files on their local computer or hard drive.

So what’s the problem? Nothing, as long as you are aware that if you are an entrepreneur, individual or small business owner who does not have a private dedicated server….YOU ARE WORKING IN THE CLOUD!

Sorry, I shouldn’t yell, but unless you are a huge company with its own email servers, or a tech geek who built your own private one, you are dependent on the Internet to run your business.

Small businesses and entrepreneurs especially are on Webmail. Even if you download your email into Outlook to your desktop, it must travel through the Internet. If you use email services like Gmail, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail, you name it….they are all cloud based email providers.
If you Use Dropbox or Google Drive or Zoho, you’re in the cloud. If you’re on social media like Facebook or LinkedIn your information is in the cloud. If you’ve ever logged into your bank account to check activity, you’ve accessed your data in the cloud.

Understanding where your data is stored (on servers connected over the Internet) is important. These days, it’s difficult to conduct business without being in the cloud to some level. It’s also difficult to get past all the security breaches lately. So how do you handle working in the clouds?
Don’t be afraid of it. Instead put in place your plan to stay safe in the cloud.

Use these tips for storing information in the cloud:

Do your homework. Get informed about the security features and procedures for the companies you trust your data to. Where are their servers? Who has access? Who is in charge of data security? Do they let you encrypt your files? How long have they been around? Ask a lot of questions. Read their FAQs and blogs. Most companies know that security is on your mind and will do their best to help put your fears to rest.

Think before you upload. If you feel uncomfortable about uploading your file, then use a local, secured, solution—just make sure it is backed up! When you upload, be choosy about where you put your files.

Password protect. Being lazy about using a good password or about locking our tablets and phones leaves you vulnerable. The seconds you spend keying in a password or swiping your pattern is worth it to protect your data when you are on the go. Use strong passwords for the tools you use, and don’t forget you can password protect files with sensitive data too!

Limit access. I know one of the benefits of working in the cloud is that it is so easy to share files with others. Unfortunately that can put you at risk if the person you share with doesn’t have good security principles in place. Only share files and folders with people you know and use controls to limit their permissions and what they can do with the files.

Use structure. Most people jump back and forth from one app or tech tool to the other, so use structure and have “rules’ on what you put where. For example, maybe you store all your personal files in Google Drive, you put your business docs in Dropbox, or you keep all your articles to read in Evernote. Knowing what you put where helps keep things organized.

Don’t be afraid to put our digital files in the cloud, just take the same care that you would with your paper files. After all, you wouldn’t just leave paper laying around out in the open would you?

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Nicole Chamblin
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Nicole Chamblin

I’m Nicole Chamblin, a productivity “coachsultant”, the Chief Visionary and owner of Visions Productivity Solutions. Through onsite consulting, virtual coaching and live training sessions, I love teaching ways to more effectively manage the 3 Ts™- time, team, and tasks. If you’re a small business owner or a department head of an established business that has never taken the time to put in place back end administrative processes to improve productivity, efficiency, communication and collaboration– I can help.
Nicole Chamblin
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