Using Free Online Backup Services to Enhance Team Efficiency

Getting a team to work collaboratively in today’s technological environment can be challenging. The days when a marketing group sat around a table drawing out steps in a campaign are gone; today, we make our contributions digitally. In some ways, that makes things much more flexible, but at times it can mean an efficiency hit.

The virtual conference room



Accordingly, we’ve found ways to get everyone together in a virtual environment. We use video conferencing software to exchange words and visual ideas in real-time. We use email to move data back and forth.

Unfortunately, this becomes inefficient and bulky at times. Think about the life cycle of a single document, perhaps a departmental procedure. It starts out on the computer of the person creating it. From there, it’s sent as an attachment to the manager. The manager makes changes, and then sends it out to the entire team (of let’s say five members) for comments or additional ideas. At that point, there are now seven iterations of the document – before a single team member makes changes.

It’s no wonder teams are looking for alternative solutions.

Online storage and backup options



One way around this is with an online storage and backup solution. When you use an online storage solution, you create a single copy of a given document or file, and it stays on the server. There’s only ever one version of the file.

In the above example, the person who creates it uploads it to the online storage service. From there, the manager opens it and makes changes. Team members can each view it, adding their thoughts. Depending on the particular online service you choose, several people can make changes simultaneously, and those changes will be tracked and merged.

Now, there’s less potential for someone using the wrong version of a file, and you’ve also saved a significant amount of storage space in your email system.


Is online storage right for your team?



Some teams can truly benefit from the efficiency of online storage. Here are some questions to ask about your team that can help you decide if it’s right for you:

  • Does your team regularly collaborate on a single document, spreadsheet, presentation, or other file?
  • Do team members often need to distribute a file to the rest of the team via email?
  • Does your team work in divergent physical locations, without access to the same local area network?
  • Do team members need to be able to access files from home or other off-site locations?

Online storage presents opportunities for teams that can answer “yes” to any of the above questions.

Fitting the solution to your team



There are a number of free online storage systems out there, but they may or may not have the features you’re looking for in terms of collaboration. Other services offer more robust team features such as project management integration and access control levels; do some exploring to see what’s out there, and you’ll most likely find a solution that fits.

This is a guest post from Eric Greenwood

Eric Greenwood is a technophile whose interests have lead him to study all things related to the cloud computing movement from software as a service to online storage. Get more tips and advice on the blog Online Storage!

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