The cloud isn’t new, but it’s certainly grown in popularity over the past several years. Businesses and individuals are using the cloud in many different ways, but there’s still some confusion about how the cloud should be used. Some argue that cloud storage is the path to cost savings and better business performance and that it should be used in every way possible. On the other hand, some people still believe that the cloud is a dark and scary place and should be used with caution. The truth is somewhere in the middle, and the cloud has the potential to open new opportunities, but only if data security is properly addressed.

Many businesses fear the cloud due to its reputation for being dangerous. While that can be true, the cloud is only dangerous if you store the wrong type of data in the cloud. The cloud is nothing to be afraid of, and it’s helped many small businesses expand their reach, be more efficient, and save money over time.

If you’re new to the cloud, or if you’re trying to find ways to keep your documents safe, it’s important to understand that there are certain types of information that shouldn’t be stored in the cloud. This includes passwords, personally identifiable information (think: birth certificates, social security cards, credit card information, etc.), tax information, and illegal content. So, what can you store in the cloud? Here are four ideas.

Basic data files

Storing basic data files in the cloud such as Word documents, presentations, spreadsheets, and PDF files can actually be incredibly beneficial for your business. When you store your files in the cloud, you open up your business to new opportunities. Storing files in the cloud makes it easy for your employees to collaborate, regardless of whether they’re in the office or working from home. When files are stored in the cloud, they can be accessed from anywhere, giving both you and your employees the option of working from home or on the go when needed. This offers greater flexibility and accessibility for your entire business.

Computer applications

In the past, you had to run applications or programs from software that was downloaded to your physical computer or a server in the building. Today, cloud computing allows you to access these same applications through the Internet. Whether you’re looking for a CRM, email service, photo editing software or payroll solution, you can find it all in the cloud. More and more businesses are starting to offer cloud-based solutions for their applications, making it easy to work from anywhere at any time.

Photos

In today’s digital age, photos and images are reaching huge file sizes.  In the past, if your business needed  to share and store photos, they had trouble emailing these large pictures. Today, the easiest way to share photos is to store them in the cloud. When you store your photos in the cloud, you can access them from anywhere with Internet access, and you can easily pull them up on any device.

Music

Even with all of the cloud-based options like Pandora and Spotify, many people still take the somewhat primitive route of buying CDs or downloading music from iTunes or Google Play. If you’re one of those people who feel more comfortable having a hard copy of an MP3 file, it’s important to know that you don’t necessarily have to store these files locally on your computer. Keeping your music library in the cloud makes it easy to synchronize your music across all devices, but it also makes it easy to access your favorite music from anywhere. Whether you’re at work, the airport or even by the pool, you’ll always have access to your favorite music.

Data protection is a huge concern for small businesses, but when used correctly, it can have tremendous benefits for your business. With the right measures and practices, you’ll be able to take advantage of all the cloud has to offer.

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