We are an “always online” generation. Laptops, tablets and smartphones are putting virtually all the information the world holds in our hands. The only requirement is a connection of sorts. The beauty of this is that all of the data being exchanged and gathered doesn’t take up any physical space. In fact, with the tools readily available today, it doesn’t even take up personal digital space anymore, we upload it to online storage commonly known as “the cloud”. Through the cloud, we access everything we want when and where we want it. So, how are you managing your digital life?
ere are 5 truths to help you become the champion of the cloud.
- Online storage means no clutter
Services like Google Drive, OneDrive and Dropbox exploded upon the scene in the mid noughties in one form or another and have changed the way we are now storing our digital files.
With just one click, you can save any file to the internet. You won’t have to worry about physical deterioration of your storage facility, a polite way of saying that you can’t lose all your data by dropping your hard drive. All you need is a password and everything you’ve uploaded is there. It also doesn’t matter if you’re viewing your files from your desktop, laptop, tablet or phone. Really, the only limiting factor to online storage is the availability of an internet connection. And if you’re in a pinch and know you’ll need to access stuff offline, you can easily make any file available beforehand or just sync the whole thing to your computer as you work.
- You can share and cooperate online in real time
Big projects are generally worked on by more than one person, meaning teamwork and transparency are vital. If you don’t know what your fellow student or colleague is doing, or if you have 12 different versions of a file, it negatively affects the end result. But if everybody has access to the same file and can adapt it in real time with a record of who’s done what and the possibility to communicate as you’re working, you are increasing your efficiency tenfold.
A platform like Google Drive offers all these possibilities and even has its own suite of editing software, meaning you do not have to open up a separate program like Microsoft Word or Excel to make amendments to your document. All you need is a Gmail address.
- The best notebook is a digital one
You are in class, at a meeting, following an online seminar or somewhere absolutely random when information that is of major relevance to you is being shared. By the time you’ve grabbed your pen and paper, you’ve already forgotten half of what it is you wanted to write down. This is where programs like Evernote come in handy. Need that equation or that list of milestones? Snap a quick picture of it and Evernote will save it for you. You can also type in a note or record audio for later. The bottom-line is that you are creating digital notes of all this information that can easily be processed when it suits you.
- There’s an app for that
So, you’ve gotten the hang of your favourite cloud based solutions and you know you can access them from anywhere and from any device. It’s now time to make use of apps. All the major suites and programs that help you organise your digital library have their app equivalent for any type of smartphone or tablet. The login is the same, the functionality is broadly the same, but the content is delivered to you in a device friendly format. You can work on the road as well as you would at your desk, which adds a lot of flexibility to how you organise your day.
- It is safe
All of these software suites and their companion apps have solid encryption options and privacy settings. You define what is being shared and who can edit or otherwise interact with your content. Furthermore, you need to log in before you can use them and you have the option of enabling two-step verification as well. This added security requires that you input a password sent through to your phone as a text message on top of having to input your login details.
The best thing is that online platforms are either free, or have a free version with some functionality locked away behind a paywall. There really is no reason for you not to experiment and see which one you like best. You’ll not only save time and space, but will develop skills and working habits that have almost become the norm today.