In our increasingly digitalized society, more work is being done online — even in your vibrant parish. While some information may still need to be stored on-site in local hard drives, cloud storage provides some clear benefits for your parish office.
1. No Data Loss
With cloud storage, backups happen automatically. Cloud providers also have redundancies in place to avoid file corruption from lack of use. With some providers, they’ll save multiple versions of a file that have changed over time. Did you save over something on accident? No problem! The cloud storage platform is tracking it.
2. Heightened Security
Major storage companies have tougher security measures than you can likely afford. Most offer 128 or 256 bit AES encryption. A cloud storage facility will also have physical security measures that your parish doesn’t. Have you backed up everything on an external hard drive? That’s easy enough to swipe if your office is broken into.
3. Save Money on Servers
Servers cost money and so do repairs. Few parishes have the funds (or the need) to retain a full or part-time IT employee. While cloud solutions have various pricing models, the bottom line will often come in well below a full hardware-based storage solution for smaller organizations.
4. Tailored Options & Features
With a diverse array of options, you can find the best platform that fits your needs. Here’s a quick overview of some of the top providers:
- Dropbox: This platform was the first big player in cloud storage. It’s user-friendly with advanced collaboration functions and document editing. While users can access 2GB of storage for free, 3TB total and advanced functionality are available at $12.50 per user per month.
- Google Drive: Google Drive is popular for both personal and professional use … and for good reason. You receive 15GB of storage automatically. Further upgrades are monthly costs for your storage size, not per user. It can be used both to house static files and to collaborate on spreadsheets, presentations, and word processing documents. However, you need to designate offline files if you want to work without an internet connection.
- OneDrive: This low-cost solution ($5 per user with 1TB of storage each) integrates well with Windows. If everyone in your office has Microsoft computers, this could be a great option. It works just as well both offline on your desktop and connected to the internet.
- Amazon Drive: If you’re simply looking for a place to house files without collaboration, Amazon Drive could be an option for you. It’s easy to use, with superior speeds for upload and download. $60 a year gives you 1TB of storage.
5. Employees Can Work From Anywhere
Working from home has been a staple in the corporate and entrepreneurial world for some time now. A local parish clearly requires close collaboration and office presence, but many employees could benefit from occasionally working remotely.
Perhaps one of your employees is a parent of young children who is asking to take one out-of-the-office day a week to help save on childcare. Maybe your parish office is closed for the day, and the business manager with a 30-minute commute would rather access the finance files he needs from his own kitchen table if he can. Did you use an online form for confirmation students to register for the retreat or youth conference, or do you have digitally submitted PDF permission forms? Your youth minister may need to access those over the weekend. Give your employees the flexibility to access the files they need wherever there’s an internet connection.
Is making changes to your data storage strategy overwhelming? Check out our tips for database spring cleaning.