Cloud computing is the use of an online server for online storage of files, usually hosted by a third party.  We currently use cloud computing on a regular basis—Facebook, Flickr, Google Docs and Amazon Cloud are just a few examples.

So how can clouds be used to share information with customers?

Have you ever worked on a project remotely with another and had to share large files back and forth?  Most email servers have an attachment size limit of between 5 and 10 MB.  If you’re collaborating on a presentation or large pdf file, you will soon realize that you will need to find a way to share this file, other than through email.

You can use your ftp site, but that requires an i.p. address, login and the general know-how to actually transfer the files.  And it has been my experience, that even with instructions, the average salesperson or customer has difficulty figuring out how to upload and download from an ftp site.

Here’s where the cloud comes in.

I’ll use Google Docs as the cloud in this example.  So I have a large art file I want to share.  I’ll save it to my computer, log in to my Google Docs account and upload the file from the Docs home page.  When I upload the file, a small window comes up with options and I can also change options with the Actions dropdown next to the file.

I click on Actions – Share… – Share… and the Share Settings pop up.  I can choose to share with anyone who has the link or I can choose specific users to share with.

If you are collaborating on a Microsoft Office document with a team, Google Cloud Connect is a great way to go.  Google Cloud Connect allows multiple users to edit documents on- and offline, automatically saving the revisions so all users know which is the most recent version.  Simply sync the documents you want to share, invite users and collaborate!

Online storage clouds are great ways to both collaborate and share with a team of users and are ideal for remote collaboration.

Do you use cloud computing in your business?  What have your experiences been?

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