Everyone knows the frustration of searching for a file only to find it’s not there. It doesn’t matter which search tools you use or how many folders you click, sometimes what you need doesn’t turn up.
The goal of file management is to prevent this exact scenario from happening. When done correctly, not only is your data going to be more accessible but also more secure and better organized.
There are six different ways you can improve file management while increasing safety and productivity.
A Simple Explanation of File Management
In the old days, businesses stored large amounts of data on customers and employees on pieces of paper in folders. The biggest companies would amass astounding amounts of documents, forming vast archives.
In the last thirty years, it moved to digital devices, beginning with local storage and now cloud drives. But the same challenges of locating relevant data remain even with much better discovery tools.
File management is the process of naming, storing, and retrieving data in an organized fashion. Not only does it save time but also frustration and money. And these costs do add up. Every year, IT administrators lose $21,000 in productivity because of poor file management.
Here’s everything you need to know about streamlining your file organization:
1. Build a Folder Structure
Everything boils down to your superstructure. When you organize it, it’s easy to locate files. It begins with a natural division of subfolders and grouping of similar folders together.
For example, a digital marketing firm could start with a “Service” folder. It can contain subfolders on “social media,” “blogs,” “direct ads,” and other specialties of the firm. Within each of these, they can break it down into campaigns or pitches.
The same goes for your company. Remember to stay focused on simplicity for the subfolders. It is the main hierarchy you built complexity out on.
2. Use Metadata to Help Organize
Metadata provides information on your data. It’s what you see when clicking “Properties” on a file. It can tell you important things like file size, when you created or edited the data, and who can access it.
From the beginning, you should keep metadata in mind. If the file allows it, add valuable information like keywords and tags. It makes it easier to sort through data and find files faster.
3. Delete the Debris
We live in an era when it’s not necessary to delete things anymore. With terabytes of local and cloud storage, who needs to erase anything? But that’s the problem. All data piles up, making it much more difficult to find what you’re looking for.
Whether it’s emails, images, text files, or anything, you don’t have to keep everything. Declutter your inbox and hard drive and remove things you don’t need anymore. Do this once a month and delete anything that doesn’t bring value. You’ll be thankful when you don’t have to upgrade to the next level of paid storage.
4. Use Cloud Storage the Right Way
Everybody uses cloud computing nowadays. It’s so big that 30% of IT budgets go to cloud computing. But there’s a right and a wrong way to use it. You don’t want your cloud provider to be an unorganized backup of your local storage.
Begin by embracing a cloud-centric approach. With tools like Google Drive, you can work from any device and any location. At the same time, you can use apps like NordVPN teams to make essential business platforms and files not only accessible but also more secure. It is also necessary for managing remote workforces and assets that spread out around the globe.
5. Use Encryption
Your files are an asset. Both offline and online, you need to protect your data. Using encryption is the best way to safeguard valuable data. Encryption creates indecipherable content so that only people with the password can access the file. By encrypting your files and subfolders, you enhance your security and can prevent a data breach.
The same goes for secure file-sharing. Be sure to enable NordVPN teams when sharing data, especially while using open public WiFi networks.
6. Backup and Retention Plan
So far, the focus was on eliminating unnecessary data. But that’s because there’s so much valuable data you need to safeguard. Retention plans help you form the best strategies for archiving, modifying, and removing files. It is the heart of file management.
Along with it is your backup and disaster recovery strategy. What happens to your data in the worst-case scenario? If a data center crashes, are there redundancies in place? More than anything, your data should be available 24/7, no matter what happens.
A Little Effort Goes A Long Way
File management is an upfront investment in time and effort. But you’ll get out what you put in. Start on a firm foundation of file management and take the time to keep a clear hierarchy. You’ll be ready to scale your company and meet the challenges of tomorrow.