Wikipedia defines “Cloud Collaboration” as “a way of sharing and co-authoring computer files through the use of cloud computing, whereby documents are uploaded to a central “cloud” for storage, where they can then be accessed by others. Cloud collaboration technologies allow users to upload, comment and collaborate on documents and even amend the document itself, evolving the document.”
The increased ease with which employees can now collaborate online is one of the most important and revolutionary of all of the advantages that the Internet itself has brought to the table for businesses of all sizes. However, although online collaboration (both over LANs and the cloud) has been readily available through a variety of different means to businesses for some time now, many enterprises are still somehow hesitant to take advantage of these valuable tools, often opting instead for basic email exchanges as their go-to collaboration method. With all the myriad advantages of utilising the cloud for collaboration, why are these enterprises still holding on to doing things the old fashioned way?
First off, some companies that have yet to harness the power of the cloud may try to point toward the relative familiarity and simplicity of using email for collaboration versus cutting edge cloud tools. However, this can be seen as somewhat ironic when one considers the fact that, when compared to the streamlined process of collaboration in the cloud, group projects through email can often become suddenly very complicated at a moment’s notice, with potential mis-saves to storage servers being a constant risk, not to mention the confusion that can result as to which collaborator has the most recent version of the collaborative project in question. In addition to this, the very simplicity of this one-way communication style often also serves to inhibit creativity by forcing the participants to create a rigid, preconceived hierarchical structure so as to avoid the above-mentioned confusions, delays and accidents that can be so common to collaborative email threads.
Another factor that often leaves businesses afraid to take advantage of the cloud for collaboration are ill-informed concerns over security. While being cautious about security is an understandable, nay, advisable stance for people to take (especially when beginning to use a new technology), it is important to keep in mind that, once again, cloud collaboration has been around for some time now, and thus potential security issues have been thoroughly addressed by cloud vendors. In fact, files being shared and accessed in the cloud oftentimes end up being more secure than ones passed around through email as simple unencrypted attachments!
In Part II, we will further discuss further the importance of cloud collaboration.