Collaboration Techniques Small Businesses and storage solutions

EOY IT Housekeeping: Is Your Small Business Storage Ready for 2020?

The end of the year is an excellent time for planning: prepping for tax season, archiving old client information, and planning your budget for the new year. While you’re preparing your next year’s IT strategy, take the time to address your current storage system.

How can improvements to your storage system help boost your business?

Take a closer look at your filing system.

Clutter is one of the biggest issues small business owners face—and we don’t just mean that pile of Post-it notes on your desk. Whether you rely on an external hard drive, cloud storage, or some mix of storage solutions, your filing system plays a major role in your business’s day-to-day efficiency.

Ask yourself:

  • “Should I be using the search bar as my only method to find files?”
  • “Do I know the file path for my most-used programs?”
  • “If I needed to tell a new employee where to find a document, would I be able to give them clear instructions?”

If you answered “No” to all three questions, you may need to take a closer look at the way you sort your files.

At GTS, we use Office 365 to guarantee access to all of our client information, shared files, and essential programs whenever we need it. Through SharePoint and OneDrive, we have immediate access to all of this data, from any device, anywhere in the world. However, we’d be lost without a dedicated organization system. Because we use a standardized system for every client, we know how to find everything from invoices to to-do lists with a couple of button clicks – no more waiting for the search bar to index our whole hard drive!

Our organization system follows a path like this:

  • A folder called “Clients” that holds all our Client Folders, arranged by name
  • A designated Client Folder for each client, divided into category folders like “Accounting,” “Projects,” and “Tasks”
  • An organization system for each of those category folders that is that same across every client.

Unless you’re a managed service provider for small businesses, your perfect organization system probably doesn’t look like ours. The time you invest into cleaning up your organization system will be returned tenfold in the New Year, especially if you stick to it!

Clean up disk space.

While you’re reorganizing your files, it’s a great opportunity to delete or archive any redundant files, folders, and programs. For example, if you offer graphic design services for your clients, you probably don’t need the InDesign files for versions one through four of a project—especially if your client signed off on version five two years ago.

Take the time to uninstall programs you never use, delete massive files that are taking up precious disk space, and delete cookies in your browser that might be slowing down your performance. While you’re at it, you can run the “Disk Cleanup” utility that comes automatically with practically all PCs. This program will inspect your hard drive for any places you’re storing temporary files, duplicates, or outdated files, and get rid of them for you.

Upgrade your cloud storage solution.

So—you’ve gone through and fixed your filing system, you’ve run your Disk Cleanup client, and you’ve manually deleted massive files that are clogging your system. But you’re still almost out of storage space!

One of the best ways to fix this is by investing in a high-quality cloud storage solution. As we’ve mentioned, our recommended choice is Office 365. SharePoint and OneDrive offer an effortless access system, and most subscriptions come with a hefty amount of included cloud storage. For a nominal fee, you can upgrade those storage limits. (Here’s a hint: if you’re a GTS client, we offer unlimited file hosting as part of our GTS Backup service!)

As a caveat, make sure you’re not upgrading your storage because it’s easier than going through and getting rid of redundant files. There’s no reason to pay for storage you’re not using, so it’s in your business’s best interest to address your storage issues rather than pay more to make them go away. That solution is only temporary—it may seem like you’re only spending a little bit of money in the short term, but after a year of booming business, your storage will be right back to its breaking point.

Make sure your team members are connected to everything they need.

Now that you’ve established a streamlined organization system, check in with your team members and devices to ensure that everyone has access to everything they need. Through services like Office 365, you can guarantee your team is on the same page on every project—even if your team members live all over the world.

Not sure how to get started? Give us a call at (904) 606-6011 to discuss your business’s end of year IT needs. We’re happy to take a look at your current storage system as part of our free fifteen-point technology check for new clients, and make recommendations that will boost your business in the New Year. Let’s get started!


Paul May