Tell me, where do you store your client’s work? On the hard disk of a laptop/desktop or tablet? In your phone? Well, if so, you should consider stopping this and moving your content to the Cloud. There are many reasons for why you should store your client’s files and projects on the Cloud and not on a single device. Here is just a few of them.
Protected in the Result of HD Failure
The major reason you need Cloud storage for your data is what you would do if you experience catastrophic hard disk failure. If you’re sensible, of course you will have back ups (flash drives or CDs) but these media do not always connect to all your devices, They are not always suitable methods for storage. Imagine the blue screen of death on the day of a deadline and the only backup copy you have is memory stick that won’t connect to a tablet or a phone – and you’re on a train. What then? With Cloud, you can access these files on every device the service is present.
Work from Anywhere on Multiple Devices
Similarly, you are not restricted to a single device. When travelling on a train, you can work on the file on your smartphone. You don’t need a large device such as a laptop. I now live in Cornwall but used to be in a long distance relationship. When we first got together, we’d spend 2-3 days together and I wouldn’t take my laptop as I intended not to work. However, several times I received urgent emails from clients to change or amend files while I was away. With the original stored on Dropbox, I could do that easily. The point of being a freelancer is being able to work anywhere. Without Cloud, you limit yourself in the new digital economy.
With several major hacks of the last few years, it’s understandable you’d be worried about your client data security. Who wouldn’t be? The fact of the matter is that the security of storage that these services provide is much better than what you can afford on your own for your devices. These big cases have been so well covered in the media because they are so rare, not because they are so common. You are more likely to suffer a data breach from downloading malware visiting a click bait site during personal time than have your business related Cloud account hacked.
Freelancing often means collaborating, especially in the creative services. You may sometimes need to work on a file with multiple people at once. That is much easier to do using a Cloud service where many people can access it at once than continuing to email the file back and forth and get confused between which version you are presently using. Collaboration is one of the main reasons most people use any Cloud service, it’s the main reason they exist – mobile connectivity – although vital today, is a relatively modern function developed since our phones became that much more powerful.
But Which To Use?
Which you use depends on a number of factors:
- Capacity requirements
- How many devices you have / want to use Cloud on
- What you intend to use it for (storage? project collaboration? simple choice?)
- The services and functions on offer
As standard, everybody should use Dropbox – it’s one of my three most essential tools of freelancing. It looks like any other folder on your desktop / laptop. Except anything you put on it will be stored in the Cloud. Upload a file using your phone and within a few minutes it’s there on your laptop too. The same can be said of OneDrive.
Evernote is a great package (about which I’ve written many times) for multimedia. Easily upload research notes, video clips, web page grabs, photographs. It’s been around a long time and is still one of the best pieces of software for sharing multimedia between users and devices.
For Cloud based office packages, Google’s services are great. I use the Google spreadsheet for two clients, have used it with more in the past and it will no doubt continue to function as a vital business tool.
All I will say is have a look around at the services. Most of the above offer free versions that are more than adequate for the freelance writer.