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Dip Your Toe into the Cloud: A Non-Threatening Introduction

I’m sure you’d agree—it’s super-important for your organization to stay on top of everything that you do.  It’s a no-brainer, right?  Meanwhile, the intricacies and specifics of data management can sometimes be enough to make your eyes glaze over.

Not for us, because we live and breathe this stuff.  But how do we get you to be as enthusiastic about keeping your information safe, secure, and accessible  as we are?  Well, let’s start small.  The internet is teeming with great options to help you stay agile and organized in the form of cloud computing.  If you haven’t tried any cloud options in earnest yet, try playing around with some of these— they’re perfect to help you out a little in your personal life or around the house.

Dropbox

Dropbox - Simplify your life - Cloud Services

Dropbox is one of the most widely used cloud computing services around.  The proposition is simple: Dropbox acts like a drive on your computer, but it’s also a portal into the internet.  Drag and drop files into your Dropbox, and it will sync up with every other Dropbox that has access to that folder.  If you’ve got multiple computers and you want to get, say, a picture from your laptop to your desktop, Dropbox is an easy option.  Or if you want to share files with your friends, family or coworkers, Dropbox will get it there fast.

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Google Drive

Google Drive - Keep everything. Share anything.

Just in case you didn’t know, Google does a lot of stuff for you, and most of it is for free.  If you’ve got a gmail account, then you also have access to a personal calendar (Google Calendar), a social network (Google Plus), and a storage drive and office utility (Google Drive).  Google drive is the latest incarnation of Google Docs, which also integrated Google Wave—you don’t need a history of the internet here, just realize that you can do a lot with your Google Drive applications.  And, if the option to create documents, spreadsheets, and web forms isn’t enough, you can upload and share bigger files (the type that doesn’t fit in an email attachment) with other people.

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Evernote

Evernote | Remember everything with Evernote, Skitch and our other great apps.

Evernote is not a powerhouse in storage, but its main function is really more along the lines of organization.  Tag and sort your notes by topic and category, and you’ll have them all laid out in order of the date they were created.  Share your notes if you’d like, or keep them all to yourself.  You can write your own notes, attach files, insert webclips, send email to be stored, or do any combination of those possibilities.  With a little work, Evernote will show you how it feels when your whole life is organized— and on your terms.

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Mindomo

Brainstorming and Mind Mapping Software. Make a Mind Map Online! - Mindomo

What’s the user of all of these great cloud computing options if you don’t know how to organize them?  Try a mind mapping tool like Mindomo to get your thoughts straight.  It has all kinds of great color, branching, and organization options that include posting extended notes and links.  I use Mindomo like a 30,000 foot view over my cloud processes—it’s a great way to keep the functions organized in a way that I can understand.

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First Dropbox, Then The Workplace!

Once you’ve gotten a taste of using these cloud computing options, you’ll probably realize how much cloud accessibility, tagging, and organization can add to your workflow.  But, quick disclaimer: these are free services with their own privacy and security policies.  They’re a great place to store your recipes or webclips for your upcoming trip to the Mediterranean.  But if you’ve got sensitive materials, we can help you find a solution that’s more suitable for that.

Have you had an opportunity to use any of these services?  Are there any others that you’ve tried and liked?  Tell us about it in the comments!

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