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I have to admit, I was one of those people who was apprehensive about using the cloud, especially for business documents and data. It took some time, but I finally decided to try Google Apps. I started small, just using Gmail for personal correspondence. Then one day, I set off on a business trip and when I arrived at my destination, I got a call from another client requesting something I had written for them several months back. Unfortunately, that document was on my desktop computer and not the laptop I had with me.
So, here I was out of town with no way to retrieve the information. Fearful I would find myself again traveling and needing a document, I began to replicate all my files, transferring my desktop data to my laptop and vice versa. What a time consuming process! I then started talking with some people who swore by Google Drive. I was apprehensive and unsure of its security. After researching a bit more, I realized the biggest security risk from a data standpoint was my password. So, I made sure I chose something very complicated. Then, I took the plunge and decided to create backups of all of my information in Google Drive. As a consultant, I travel often for business. Today, I cannot imagine operating without Google Apps! I definitely recommend it for all business travelers. Below are some of the features I find most beneficial:
Ready Access to All Data
When I backup my data to Google Drive, I can conveniently access it from any device with an Internet connection. So, whether I am traveling across country or just across town, I take comfort in knowing I am never far away from my files. I’ve had instances when I have only had my smartphone with me (no tablet or laptop) and a client or colleague calls me and requests a file. I use the Google Drive smartphone app to find what they need and e-mail it directly to them!
If it hasn’t yet happened to you, consider yourself lucky. IMAP e-mail is fantastic, especially when traveling, because you can access all of your received and sent e-mails on all of your devices. However, if you accidently delete an e-mail from the server without filing it, you can lose it for good. After having this happen to me several times, I decided to forward a copy of all of my e-mail to my Gmail account as an additional backup.
Sharing and Collaboration
As you very well know, just because you are away on business does not mean business stops. I love Google Docs “live” collaboration because a colleague and I can literally edit a document together no matter where each of us is located!
Secure Data Backup
Data loss can happen as a result of a hard drive or server failure, virus, file corruption, natural disaster or a multitude of other occurrences. Backing up your data to Google Drive means you will have copies of all of your important files stored in Google’s cloud. So, if your computer decides to kick the bucket, you will be able to easily access and restore all of your data.
Let’s say you are traveling and your laptop or flash drive gets lost or stolen. The biggest fear is that a criminal now has access to all of your files and information. I now try not to store any really important files on my laptop, and instead, access them when I need them solely from Google Drive. This way, if I do lose my computer, my data is still safe.
Backing up your Google Apps is not a bad idea in the event you accidently delete a file, botch a sync, a file becomes corrupt or you fall victim to a malicious act.
So, business travelers, if you haven’t tried Google Apps, I recommend giving it a chance. Google is continually adding new features and updating its infrastructure to keep everything fresh and user friendly. Like a toothbrush, I cannot imagine traveling without it!