Google Drive is a cloud storage service offered by Google and you want to use it in your business because it provides a number of very useful tools.
First though – what is cloud storage?
Essentially when you store documents in the ‘cloud’ you’re storing them in a location external to your own laptop or desktop. It can be a server that you own and access remotely or a server that is owned and maintained by another company, like Google, Dropbox or Apple who then rent space to you.
Another way to think of cloud storage is like a remote version of your laptop – the files and folders you have on your laptop are now available no matter where you are in the world, without having to lug your laptop around with you the whole time.
As already mentioned there are many different companies offering cloud storage, but today I’m talking about Google and Google Drive.
Google Drive in a nutshell
Google offers a free cloud storage option which gives you 15GB of storage space.
After that you can pay a monthly fee to have a larger amount of storage space – starting at $2.49/month for 100GB; all the way up to $374.99/month for 30TB – but for most micro business owners /solopreneurs 15GB is enough to get started.
You will need a Google Account and Internet access to synchronise and upload the files.
To access Google Drive simply go to https://drive.google.com
What can you store in Google Drive?
Within Google Drive you can store images, videos, music files and multiple types of documents like PDFs, word documents, spreadsheets or presentations.
You can then access those files via an app on your Android phone, your iOS phone or the web interface as long as that device is connected to the Internet. And because Google Drive is accessed via the Internet you can log into any device with your Google Account and get immediate access to all your files.
Google Drive also syncs automatically, across all your devices, when connected to the Internet. So you can upload a file from your phone to Google Drive and access it from your laptop within seconds.
You can also use the Backup and Sync application offered by Google to drag files and folders when offline, into a folder that will be synchronised when you do go online.
Why use Google Drive in your business?
Essentially Google Drive is a great way to backup your documents – and after my incident earlier this year with external hard disk drives, I am all about the importance of keeping backups!
As I mentioned in that article, one of the three methods of backing up documents is to have them stored offsite and Google Drive offers that in a very easy, cost effective way.
Also, because Google Drive can be accessed via the Internet it is a great way to store documents that you wish to access no matter where you are, even if you don’t have your usual laptop/desktop with you. It’s also a great way to share files with people as you can give different people different levels of access.
Example 1 – away from the office:
Picture this – you’re taking a well-deserved break in Melbourne’s Yarra Valley when you get an urgent call from a client. They absolutely, positively must have that proposal sent to them today. Which is great news, but because your plans for today didn’t include working you don’t have your laptop with you. However you do have your phone with you so you open the Google Drive app on the phone, do a quick search for the document and email it to your client.
Example 2 – tax time:
Is it just me, or is it always a pain to get all your tax documentation to your accountant? There’s always something that I forget to send them, or that they need clarification on. Well, it was a pain until I started using Google Drive to store all my receipts and tax documentation in a folder that I then share with my accountant at tax time. They can access the documents, download them and print them off (even without a Google Account) and I’ve saved myself having to email or even mail/courier all those documents to them.
If there’s a need to change a document or provide more information I just add the files to the shared folder and the accountant has immediate access to the new information.
Example 3 – collaborating with someone:
Alternatively, maybe you have a client, partner or virtual assistant who needs to edit documentation for you or needs to comment on a presentation that you’re preparing. Simply upload the files to Google Drive and allow that person to have edit rights on the document(s) – as long as they have a Google Account they can then edit the documents with all changes and comments tracked for you to see later.
And that basically is Google Drive
A way of storing documents, images, music, and video away from your own physical computer in an always accessible server that you personally don’t have to maintain and that allows you to share documents quickly with different people at different times.
There’s also an office software suite included in Google Drive – word processing; spreadsheet; survey forms; and presentations – but we’ll talk more about those in later articles.
Got more questions about Google Drive or using Google’s office products in your business? Drop me a line and we’ll have a chat about how we can get you using technology to serve your business better.