In 2016, Global Workplace Analytics found that approximately 20-25% of the workforce partially telecommutes. Because your team may be out of the office during a project, this creates an opportunity to eliminate paper waste while collaborating. Instead of printing off drafts each time a change is made and submitting it to the team for review, you can move those documents into various cloud based storage services where multiple users can collaborate with ease.
Chances are, you’re familiar with Dropbox as a digital storage service. Content inside of your digital storage can be shared with other users to allow them to make edits which updates in real time. What you may not know is they have various packages that may allow you to do even more.
The basic individual plan is free and includes 2GB of data. Collaboration is as simple as clicking a “share” button near the file or folder you want to share and invite users to collaborate! For individuals, you can increase storage to 1TB for $9.99/mo.
Dropbox offers business centric packages as well. For $15 per user, per month, you get unlimited storage space, advanced collaboration tools such as custom groups and a team folder, administrative tools complete with detailed logs, and priority technical support from Dropbox experts.
No matter which plan you choose, all come with 30 days of file recovery in the event of an accidental deletion, MS Office365 integration, built-in file encryption, and automatic sync technology.
Google Drive functions similarly to Dropbox, but has a few more tiered options for their individual plans (15GB for free, up to 30TB for $299/mo) so you can choose which amount of storage will work best for you. As with other services, collaborating on a file or series of files is quite simple and requires a quick invite by email.
Google Drive also offers enterprise plans for your business. If you have over 5 users that will be sharing your account, you receive unlimited storage, which comes with document collaboration, for $10 per user, per month. The service is compatible with Microsoft files, comes with built-in security, and Google guarantees a 99.9% reliable access with zero scheduled down-time. When you sign up with an enterprise service, you gain access to Google’s 24/7 customer support team.
Long time Apple users are familiar with iCloud as a digital sync and backup service for their mobile devices. In 2015, Apple created iCloud Drive, which allows the user to share and collaborate using projects in Pages, Numbers, or Keynote. Though the creator must have an iCloud account to utilize iCloud Drive features like creating and sharing documents with Pages, Numbers or Keynote, any collaborators can gain full access to the documents by accessing a link from a compatible browser (Safari 6.0.3 or later, Internet Explorer 10.0.9 or later, Google Chrome 27.0.1 or later).
It’s important to note that unlike other services on the list, iCloud file sharing only applies to collaborating on documents, spreadsheets, and presentations, although the user can store their own documents with iCloud Drive. iCloud provides 5GB for free, but are available in plans up to 1TB for $9.99 a month. iCloud services come with 24/7, free lifetime support from Apple’s world class AppleCare support teams.
Office365 is Microsoft’s cloud based subscription service. Depending on which plan works best for your business, you’ll get 1TB of OneDrive storage and the ability to install Microsoft Office on unlimited Macs, Tablets, or Windows based PCs. No matter which plan you choose, all Microsoft Office updates are included in your plan as long as your subscription is active.
If you run a smaller business, the Home Edition may be enough for you. Office365 for Home allows you to install Microsoft Office on up to 5 devices for $9.99/month or $99.99/year (a savings of $20). To collaborate with files stored in Office365, you’ll take the same approach as with iCloud and share by linking the collaborator to the document.
With available business and enterprise services, Microsoft expands their services for business customers. In addition to all the features available with a personal subscription, choosing a business subscription offers more benefits such as access to email storage, video conferences, team websites, data loss prevention, voicemail, advanced security, and IT level web and phone support for critical issues.
Office365 Business plans start at $5.00/month per user and their Enterprise plans start at $12.00/ month per user. All business and enterprise plans require an annual commitment, while the home editions can be purchased on a month-to-month basis.
With so many digital solutions available to your business, transitioning documents and collaboration to a completely paperless system is one of the simplest ways to help reduce waste and cut paper related costs!
How do you share and collaborate in the cloud? Share in the comments below!