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Cloud Expo: Article

How to Increase Productivity in the Cloud

The cloud is just another term for ‘outsourcing,’ ‘data center’ even ‘The Internet’

To some in the industry and media, cloud based services are the greatest thing since the dawn of trading in stock in the coffee shops of London back in the 1600s. However, just like those early trades, the cloud does have its issues. Yes, it can help a business to grow, and help with the outreach and the recognition of a company, but at what cost?

If an organization does not choose its cloud partner correctly, then it could be leaving itself vulnerable to outage problems. This, in turn, will lead to productivity issues. But don't misunderstand me. I believe in the cloud. I just do not believe in all the hype that surrounds it.

The cloud is just another term for ‘outsourcing,' ‘data center' even ‘The Internet.' It is important to keep in mind that to paraphrase Franklin D. Roosevelt, when it comes to increasing productivity in the cloud, the only thing we have to fear is fear itself. The Internet has been available for many years now, and most of us use it on a daily if not hourly basis. The cloud is a term that has been coined to mean all of those services that are used on the Internet. Services such as:

  • Email
  • Document sharing and
  • Server hosting

Email? Yes that is a cloud service. Not so scary after all. And certainly one that can increase productivity if implemented and managed correctly.

With the above in mind, and taking a less worrisome view of what the cloud is, here are tips to help increase productivity with cloud use.

Choose providers carefully
It is not necessary to have to have a single provider. Email can be with one, file sharing with another and servers and other services with a third, fourth and even more. When choosing a provider it is critical to read their terms and conditions and avoid being tied in. Publishing rights of information should not be passed to them and references from other organizations and individuals need to be gathered and checked.

Obtain tools that allow a single view of all information
This is extremely important. Twenty percent of an enterprise user's time is wasted looking for information, according to recent surveys done conducted by SearchYourCloud and also separately by IDC. This could get worse as information increases and deposit points become remote. Productivity tools must allow all points to be seen in a single view and thus allow  the user to see and search for everything in one go, without having to log in and out of separate applications.

Secure file shares
To help productivity, it is vital that cloud-based file sharing repositories be secured. The reason that this will help with productivity is a simple one I am afraid. When a store is hacked, much time and in many cases hard cash can be lost in protecting the company and those individuals who have details held in the store. This I know is a little dramatic, and cloud store hacks are rare. But they do happen. Why not be insured against it. All that is needed is to install a tool that encrypts and decrypts as work is done. Users should not even know or care that their files are being secured.

That is it, three simple things that will help increase productivity. The first two combined with the ‘Do not be scared' message will help on a day-to-day basis, and, if chosen correctly, could get back that 20 percent of wasted time looking for ‘stuff.' The third is more long term. However, if a hack did happen to get information, it will save days of extra work and protect productivity levels.

More Stories By Simon Bain

Simon Bain is Founder & CEO of SearchYourCloud. He is a highly respected figure in the structured markup industry and a frequent spokesman on XML applications. His recent successes include development in XML of the first secure e-voting application in the world to be authorized for use across interactive digital TV. Previously, Simon consulted for SoftQuad for several years, providing customer integrations and XML expertise. He delivered the first XML introductory seminar for IBM and is on the Board of the Sun Microsystems User Group. Simon will continue to develop SearchYourCloud to meet market requirements and commercial opportunities.

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