Working remotely in the cloud
As an IT professional and owner of a company that has been assisting and supporting clients remotely for many years, I thought it would be very helpful to share what I have learned by creating a tutorial on what it means to work remotely. This will include how to get set up and what tools would be required.
Over the years, technology has gotten us to the point where we now have the ability to share data, work on projects, hold meetings, and collaborate via applications that keep all team members in the loop without being in the same office. We can even log into office computers and servers from remote locations.
While many larger companies have embraced these technologies and have internal IT staff to handle this, the transition of recent weeks has not been as simple for smaller businesses.
If there was ever a time for small businesses to embrace the cloud and remote work, this is it.
I truly believe that this unfortunate event is going to change the way we work, live and play. So, in an effort to assist you getting your business into the cloud and to get your employees back to work, let's take an overview look at how to accomplish this:
Most of us use either Microsoft or Google as our main platforms. Both offer the tools that allow us to get most of our work up into the cloud, thereby making it accessible from anywhere.
OneDrive is the Microsoft platform for storing, synching and sharing documents. Google Drive is the Google equivalent. We should take full advantage of each and move all our data into these repositories so that they can be accessed from remote locations.
If you are using Microsoft Office 365, then your email is probably already in the cloud on Microsoft Exchange servers. Similarly, if Gmail is your email application, your email data is on Google cloud.
Moving Data to the Cloud.
Depending on where all your data is currently stored, this may or may not be a complex task. Start by figuring out the following:
Where is your data? Is it on a local server? Is it on a local storage device? (NAS). Is it on each individual's computer?
How much data is there?
How you will get all that data to a central location so that it can be moved i.e. a local backup device, network device, etc..
Decide who gets to see the data (permissions on cloud folders)
Once you have gathered all this information and centralized the data locally, the process of transferring it up to the cloud becomes a lot easier to control. Depending on the amount of data that needs to be uploaded and the bandwidth of your internet connection, the process can take from a few hours to days for larger data volume.
Once the data is in the cloud on either Onedrive or Google Drive, your users can now start accessing it remotely. Ensure that the applications from either Microsoft or Google are installed on the end users' computers so that the data can be accessed without having to open a browser.
Both Microsoft and Google also offer web based versions for accessing data, so in the event your users do not have the application installed, they could access them via a browser.
My sharing of this information is not to overwhelm you, but to provide a good starting point to moving toward the cloud.
I will continue to provide additional information and go further in the days to follow. As always, I am here to personally help you during this transitional time.
Stay safe and healthy.