Then vs. now: How cloud storage has changed the way we work


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Then: typewriters, carbon copies, and file cabinets. Now? Devices galore and cloud storage.

The advent of personal computers opened the chasm between old and new, and the internet continues to widen it. But it isn’t only technology that’s changed; with it, so has the way we work. Think about it: how many of your daily habits and choices are influenced by access to cloud storage? Depending on the unique constraints of your organization and role, probably more than a few. Let’s take a look at some of the larger shifts in workplace culture that have occurred in recent years because of new ways to store data and access applications.

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A Mobile Workforce

Not terribly long ago, the average office worker was bound to a single desk and computer. Software and files were stored locally, making it a hassle (and potentially a costly one) to recreate your setup on another machine. At the very least, you needed to plan in advance if you wanted or needed to work someplace other than the office. In recent years, however, things have begun to change. Common business tools, including word processors, spreadsheets, and slideshow presentation programs, have moved to the cloud. Combined with the proliferation of laptops, tablets, and smartphones, this development has made it possible to access and work on your documents from almost anywhere.

This has profoundly disrupted the shape of the workday. According to recent data, roughly 20-25% of the American workforce teleworks at least some of the time. Among the non-self-employed, regular remote work has grown 103% since 2005. In response, companies have had to adapt their spaces. Vast expanses of cubicles are giving way to multi-purpose areas meant to accommodate teams of different sizes working on varying devices. Employees come and go, splitting their time between the office, home, coffee shops, and parks.

True Real-Time Collaboration

Today’s technology allows for nearly limitless styles of collaboration, but it wasn’t always so. Locally saved files naturally encouraged assembly line-style work, with one person making a contribution before passing it on to the next in line. To collaborate in real time meant all team members needed to be in the same place at the same time, with a single person in the driver’s seat, so to speak. These limitations weren’t necessarily a bad thing, of course, but not many would argue that they were ideal.

The cloud changed the way we work together. Now, multiple users can contribute to the same project at the same time—even from opposite ends of the country. They can leave comments, ask questions, make suggestions and changes. This eliminates the need to make sure you’re working from the latest version of the document—the latest version is the only version.

Secure Storage, Easy Organization

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“Make sure to back up your files.” We used to hear that a lot. Because not backing them up meant we were just a broken computer away from losing all of our important information—a scary thought. Cloud storage, however, has offered peace of mind to millions of office workers. Creating documents in internet-based applications means your work is constantly being saved. What’s more, it can be accessed from anywhere and, depending on permission settings, by anyone. All of which contributes to a work environment where you can spend less time worrying and organizing, and more time creating.

How else has cloud storage changed the way you work?

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