You have event contracts, and guest lists, and event photographs, and…we could go on. But the point is, you’re juggling a lot of assets when it comes to managing an event from start to finish. And with COVID-19 driving more people to work from home, your whole work environment is probably very different from before.
That’s why, for many event professionals, cloud file storage is having its moment. Cloud file storage provides a simple way for event planners and hoteliers to save information securely online, so it can be accessed anytime, from any location. Beyond the added convenience, Datometry reports that cost savings is the number one reason businesses move their files (read: event binders!) to the cloud.
Today we’ll take a deep-dive into cloud storage and reveal a few simple ways to get the most from it for your meetings and events business.
Explore 12 cloud file storage tips
The convenience is tempting, but uploading your data to the cloud undoubtedly raises some security concerns. For one, you can never be sure of who else could be accessing this sensitive information. So here are a few ways to keep your events from prying eyes.
Simple ways to keep cloud files secure
Here are a couple of practical tips to keep your cloud data as secure as it gets.
1. Avoid storing sensitive information in the cloud.
Only upload files you need to access frequently, or need to share with others. Try to avoid uploading documents with your passwords, credit card number, or home address. If you must include this information in your files, encrypt them before upload.
2. Encrypt your data.
Before you upload your files onto the cloud, it is always beneficial to encrypt your data, even if the cloud storage automatically encrypts them. A fast and easy solution to encrypt your files is to use Microsoft’s BitLocker software.
Tip: When setting up your encryption, you will be asked to enter a password as your decryption key. Make sure to always use strong and unique passwords which contain different characters, like uppercase and lowercase letters and numbers, and more than 15 characters long.
3. Enable two-factor authentication.
If your cloud storage provider offers two-factor authentication, enable it! It is incredibly helpful for any of your accounts, and ensures that only authorized personnel can log in to your cloud storage.
You will receive a code via SMS or through an authentication app each time you log into a new browser/device, so the service can verify your identity and block malicious attempts.
4. Read the terms of service.
Before trusting a cloud service provider with your data, take a moment to read their terms and conditions. Besides storing your data, some cloud services allow you to share your photos and files with others.
This definitely sounds appealing, but sometimes these services come with a catch. By going through the fine print, you’ll find out where they store your data and what happens in case of a breach or another type of compromise.
5. Use a next-generation antivirus solution.
You may be using a secure cloud service provider which you absolutely trust, but sometimes the weakest link happens to be the computer system you’re logging in from. Keep your software up to date, including your operating system.
Avoid dangerous web locations, such as torrent websites, that don’t look trustworthy. And, educate yourself to detect potential cyber-attacks delivered via phishing emails, infected banners, spam emails, social engineering attempts, and more. Here’s a list of the best antivirus software this year.
Tips to declutter your cloud storage
You might need the catering list for your client, but now you cannot locate it among the seemingly thousands of catering lists in your storage, no matter what you search. Sound familiar?
The convenience of cloud storage makes it easy to back up your files. But unless you put the time in to organizing that space, it can quickly become overwhelming. Here are few tips that will help you declutter your cloud.
6. Use folders right from the start.
All of the major cloud storage services allow you to create folders. Begin by creating folders for your different file types. For example, you could first create two folders, one for events that have already happened, and one for upcoming events.
7. Standardize folder names.
Establishing an effective naming convention will make it easier for everyone find what they need, especially as the number of files in your team space grows.
For example try: Date_Type_FolderName. So, if you planned a corporate event in January 2020, you could name the folder “2020Jan_Conference_Forbes”. The trick is to choose a naming system that works for you and then document it.
8. Assign tags to files.
Another great way to keep track of your files and store them in folders is to assign tags to them. You won’t always be able to remember file names, but keywords can help immensely.
For example, you might be working on a proposal deck and save your initial draft for a client as “event-one”. If you tagged it with keywords such as “template”, “powerpoint”, you’d have less trouble finding it later on.
9. Determine your folder structure.
This is one of the most common reasons for having disorganized cloud storage. If your current hierarchical folder structure is excessively scattered, re-do it until you hit the nail on the head.
Try to organize it by what you access most frequently. Many professionals working in event management organize their structure beginning with the year, followed by types of events or types of clients, and then the event name.
Tips for sharing files and folders on the cloud
Now that you’ve standardized all sorts of file and folder organization, let’s get into the best ways to share files. When you share files they’ll automatically sync to each person’s computer, or they can be accessed via the web or mobile devices. Because of this instant access, it’s much more convenient than say emails back and forth. Let’s take a look at some of the best practices for file sharing.
10. Double-check permission settings.
Most cloud storage providers offer an option for sharing of your files, and public sharing too. This means that anyone with the right link can obtain your files. Before sharing a link to an event plan or diagram, ensure that you double check the permission settings as well as any additional access to edit/download the file.
11. Audit your files.
Run periodic audits on your files to check who is accessing them – for example set up a calendar reminder every quarter (do it right now!).
If a file is no longer needed, make sure to remove it from your cloud system entirely. While this will ensure that there is no unwanted access, it will also free up some additional space from your cloud storage.
12. Store all your event documents in one place.
Since things change so frequently with events, using a software that updates real-time, no matter where your team members are located, can save you time.
Keep your countless spreadsheet files, lists, logos, videos, and guest lists all alongside your event diagrams with Social Tables event services solution. And share them easily with teammates, clients, and vendors.
Explore cloud storage benefits
When it comes to data storage and protection, the cloud offers a ton of business benefits that you don’t want to miss out on. Here are just a few:
1. Uninterrupted business productivity
Work is not, at this point, obliged to the office. No matter whether you’re chatting with a client in your car or while you’re on-site at a hotel, sync documents from anywhere.
Event planners and hoteliers no longer need to depend on emailing files that are excessively large or stress over version control between static documents.
2. Easy backup and recovery
One of the greatest advantages of using cloud storage is that you’ll always have a backup in case something goes wrong on your hardware (desktop computer!).
In the event of a hard drive failure or other hardware malfunction, you can always access the cloud and retrieve any data that may have been damaged or lost.
3. Your event data is protected
What happens with your event proposals when you lose your device? If you store your data on a local hard drive and it’s not encrypted, you can’t guarantee that it won’t be copied. Most cloud storage providers add extra layers of security protocols to prevent your files from ending up in the wrong hands.
So whether you choose Amazon Web Services, Azure, or Google Cloud, the best thing about using cloud storage is that server data is distributed across redundant servers, and the data stored in the cloud is safeguarded against any type of hardware failure.
4. It’s a more scalable service
If you use a physical drive, you will run out of storage very soon and have to spend money to buy more hard drive space. Storing data in the cloud can help organizations take advantage of increased scalability.
Does your event team need to be able to scale up and down easily? Take advantage of cloud storage benefits to expand and contract your file storage needs on-demand.
5. It can bring people together
Data stored in cloud storage can be easily shared with event and hotel clients and colleagues in an easy and secure way. It makes it simple to collaborate on projects – simultaneously work on shared apps, files, and documents.
Moreover, if you have committed any changes to files, the cloud will automatically sync the changes across all affiliated devices. Some cloud-based services even provide collaborative social spaces to connect employees across your venue or planning team, therefore increasing interest and engagement.
Discover cloud storage providers
Check out a few cloud storage providers to decide if they meet your event business’ needs.
1. Cvent Event Diagramming
From guest lists to the catering menus, to videos of previous events in a hotel’s space, upload everything related to an event into its Cvent folder. Keep it all in one easy place your entire team can access, and allow clients to view diagrams.
Easily sort by event, file type, and more, with filtering that takes the frustration out of event file storage. Plus, find past templates, contracts, and event layouts, so you can quickly create customized collateral for your newest clients. You can even get started for free.
Looking to ditch your email attachments? Box starts you out with 10GB of free storage so you can store all your files in the cloud and easily share them with others with a simple link via email. The Box Business Plan for small and medium-sized businesses starts at $45 a month for three users.
3. Google Drive
Google Drive used to be just storage. But then Google took its online office suite, Google Docs, and pasted them together. Google Drive storage prices for more than 15GB start at $19.99 a year for 100GB.
4. Microsoft OneDrive
Microsoft’s cloud storage solution is directly integrated into the file explorer, allowing immediate use for users who want to jumpstart their online backup. There are also Android and iOS apps for mobile uploads, as well as an improved app for Mac users. OneDrive works closely with Microsoft Office and Office 365 suite to boost productivity. OneDrive 100GB storage is available for $1.99 per month while Office 365 Home is for $99.99 per year with 6TB storage for six users.
IDrive is for those who want to combine a cloud backup service with cloud storage. Unlike many other cloud backup services, IDrive does not lock you down to a single computer. You can use one account to back up your Windows and MacOS desktops, your Android smartphone and iPhones and tablets, and your network drives. IDrive’s business packages with unlimited users begin at $74.62 for 250GB.
pCloud allows you to store your files and access them on all devices. Also, private files can be encrypted and kept confidential. The company is registered in Switzerland which has strong privacy laws. With the annual plan, you will pay $3.99 per month for 500 GB storage, while the lifetime plan costs $175 for 500GB.
Here’s everything else you need to know about cloud file storage:
To store documents in the cloud just pick a cloud file storage provider and click to upload your files. Then you can access them anytime, anywhere, with internet.
One of the best cloud storage solutions for event videos is Social Tables. You can upload your event videos right into the corresponding event’s folder.
One of the best cloud storage solutions for event documents, diagrams, and guest lists is Social Tables. You can upload your documents right into the corresponding event’s folder.