Cloud Etiquette 101

Horrible house guests, we’ve all had them. Whether it’s that annoying family member that overstays their welcome, or that old college buddy that leaves beer cans and potato chip crumbs all over your couch. If you thought that was bad etiquette, you’ve yet to see the worst…

Imagine coming into the office and finding that your current work has gone missing, your valuable data has been completely disorganized and all your important files have been put in the trash. What would you do? I’m not referring to your paper trail, I am talking about what most businesses today share – the cloud. 

Cloud computing, particularly file-sharing, has its own essential and unwritten code of ethics. No one appreciates an ill-mannered cloud partner. For those reasons we have put together a few etiquette tips to help you not overstay your welcome when utilizing the cloud. 

Rule #1: Make Your Names Clear and Concise. Be as specific as possible when naming a file or a folder so that everyone sharing it has a good idea of the contents without having to dig into the file itself. When you’re creating sharable folders, name them about the project, rather than the people involved, so your colleagues don’t end up with a bunch of folders in their repository all carrying their name. Consider creating a specific file-naming convention that your business uses and every employee understands to avoid any confusion.

Rule #2: Ask before you delete! When deleting from the cloud, the files aren’t just deleted from your computer - they’re deleted from everyone’s computer sharing that file. Make sure to never delete files or folders without asking. Better yet, don’t delete anything that you didn’t create yourself. You may think that you’re clearing up some extra clutter, while in reality you’ve just killed the report your officemate has spent hours creating. If you do happen to delete something you shouldn’t, you typically have about 30 days (depending on software) to recover the file. After that, you’re on your own to deal with the missing data and any angry glances your coworkers shoot your way.  

Rule #3: Size Matters. Be aware of the size of your files. Don’t add a massive 3 GB mega-file that’s going to take up all of that folder’s storage space. Bear in mind, just because you have unlimited storage, does not mean everyone you’re working with does. Also, be sure to keep your data organized to avoid annoying others with unnecessary clutter. Do you have a habit of creating and sharing a bunch of notes that lead to a final project? Go ahead and delete those notes after the project’s completion, but ONLY if you created them. See Rule #2.

Rule #4: Create Clear Permission Protocols. Not everyone in your office should have access to every file. Make sure you have clear rules when it involves sharing. File-sharing willy-nilly is akin to a house guest just handing out all of your clothes to your neighbors with no documentation about who they went to and if they’ll ever be returned. When in doubt, don’t share, unless you’re the owner of a folder or file.

Rule #5: Maintain accountability. Cloud computing works best when there is accountability. Sometimes there will be many individuals working out of the same project. It is important to keep track of who is working on which file and when, so you don’t end up with a bunch of overlapping edits or changes that you have to sort out later. Set out who is responsible for final updates and ultimately responsible for the files themselves.

Working together is the only way we can make #thecloud a better place. Don’t be the person no one wants to share their cloud with. Simply follow these simple etiquette tips.

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