Running or working at a small business brings the joys and trials of filling multiple roles. As a small business owner or employee, you wear many hats. Not only do you have to sell your product, please a client or complete a service (or possibly all of the above), you have to adapt to the changing industry.

With all of these pressing activities, it is sometimes hard to find time to think about what tools might be best for accomplishing your job. To help you stop riding the technology struggle bus, we’ve made a guide to cloud-based storage for small business. This guide will help you decide if cloud storage is the right investment for your business, and identify any features you may want out of your cloud-based storage solution.

Question #1: Does your business send sensitive data on a regular basis?

Sensitive data includes financial, health, personally identifiable information or other private materials. If you answered yes, then you will need a storage solution that includes encryption both while sending information and while the data is at rest on the servers. You may also benefit from a hybrid solution that combines cloud and on-prem services. If you answered no, keep reading.

Question #2: Does your business take information on the go — do you need remote file access?

If you answered yes, then you will most likely want a secure cloud-based solution. To make life easier, consider a platform that does not need additional apps or software to run. A viable choice is a cloud solution that works through a responsive web-browser (for accessibility on multiple devices). If the answer was no, keep reading.

Question #3: Does your business have more than one additional employee?

If you aren’t a single employee operation, then it’s time to consider security options. The rule of thumb is to only allow employees access to the information absolutely necessary to complete their job. This is especially true with the increase of contractor hiring to decrease tax and insurance costs. When looking for a file sharing platform or cloud storage system, always look for a feature called granular permissions.

Granular permissions allow an administrator to determine what drives and folders any given user can access, as well as what actions a user can take (delete, move, rename, etc.). An intern shouldn’t be able to see last year’s financials, and even a CEO doesn’t need access to every single drive unless conducting an audit. When a user has fewer permissions, this decreases the chance of infecting an entire server. Ransomware can spread through a single user to an entire drive. Using granular permissions doesn’t just protect from disgruntled employees, but is a safe practice.

Question #4: Do you need the ability to have clients upload files?

You may need your clients to upload financials, contracts or even photos. For example, Prosperity Ag is a small business that conducts grant writing for communities and agriculture organizations. Grant writing requires clients to submit tax forms, business files and vendor information that often is too sensitive for email.

The solution for making such transfers easier is having the ability for clients to upload directly to your cloud server. Look for products that include a feature called client portal or upload link. For bonus points, find one that allows you to add your logo and branding for a professional, polished appearance.

I Think I Need Cloud Storage for My Small Business — What’s Next?

If these questions have you thinking about cloud storage options for your small business, then it’s time to start shopping. Check out products that have free trials available so you can investigate if the platforms have all the features you need.

If you liked the sound of encryption, granular permissions, client portals and custom branding, then check out SmartFile. And yes, we have a free trial so you can start right away.

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About Victoria Shaw

I'm the Marketing Intern at SmartFile, and a Junior Marketing major at Anderson University. I enjoy crafting content while listening to musical theatre soundtracks and eating sushi (or chocolate). Thank you for reading my post! P.S. I graduate in just over a year, so if you need a high quality marketing team member, I'm your gal;)

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