Every penny counts — how do I manage in-house office storage efficiently
If you’re a small business owner like me, you know every penny counts. Our big investments need to go directly into serving customer needs (for example, it’s crucial to invest in our state-of-the-art and energy efficient Tier IV Datacenter for website hosting and datacenter services), so we never want to over-invest in our own simple internal office functions. In addition to customer needs, my other priority has to be paying my project and engineering teams who do such an amazing job. So when big-ticket service and gear vendors come calling, I’m usually not as receptive as they’d like.
Instead I always look hard for ways to solve in-house business problems with very little investment — and the great thing about being in business today is that if you’re willing to become a jack of all trades, there are many very cheap options for executing the inter-office business infrastructure.
Don’t get me wrong — cheapest isn’t always best even for office functions. In some cases, if I had a much larger revenue stream, I’d gladly take advantage of some of the deeper service offerings you can get with premium services (like Seagate’s Cloud Backup and Recovery Services).
And importantly, I never skimp on our in-house equipment, where it’s crucial to know exactly the quality, reliability and functionality of the equipment we buy (as you’ll see with my final bullet below). But when a service can be handled remotely by a trusted provider, and it’s cheap, I’m always on top of that!
Today I’ll just focus on one critical element of every small business’s infrastructure: storage and file sharing.
Here are my top go-to storage solutions:
Many of my own team used Google Drive for years before I joined in, but now I use it every day to build out project plans and presentations, collect survey responses, and share files between team members.
Microsoft OneDrive for Business
Similar in some ways but different than Google Drive, OneDrive offers its Office 365 admin center to manage multiple user accounts, storage, and settings from anywhere. It lets us set up an integrated approval process for documents that are ready to review. Also, OneDrive for Business offers hybrid options to utilize our on-premises storage solutions with the cloud. And its powerful auditing and reporting and file management have proven a strong solution for my clients, my team and I for cross-business, cross-platform, in-depth project workflows.
If you’re using it on the cheap, you may find you run low on Dropbox space once in a while, but this is still my default cloud storage for sharing files in a very simple way. Dropbox offers new users 2 GB of free capacity.
Copy is another option similar to Dropbox, and it offers 15 GB of free cloud storage. That makes it easier to back up larger media files like presentations, videos, design layouts, and it makes it easy to rapidly share downloadable links to those files with external clients or prospects who aren’t yet integrated with your other systems.
Seagate NAS 4-Bay
For our in-house shared storage, we depend on a Seagate NAS 4-Bay with 8TB capacity.
It has excellent file transfer performance throughout the office, even when the entire team is accessing project files — you can keep up to 25 users connected without a need for an IT department. And in cloud-like fashion, we can actually access all our projects by connecting to our Seagate NAS even if we’re away from the office. From any PC or laptop anywhere, we use Seagate’s sDrive icon (like any other drive icon on your computer) to access the NAS — and we can drag-and-drop files, or search for any particular file and open it directly with its native application. From smartphones, we can also easily access files using the Seagate MyNAS app.
J. Patrick Forden is CEO of Percepticon Corporation, a brand-focused full service digital agency in the San Francisco Bay Area. Percepticon creates strategic marketing programs, products, and Internet solutions with a client roster ranging from startups to Fortune 100 companies.